The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a steep increase in the number of fatal workplace injuries in the United States.
The BLS’s Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries reported 5,190 workplace deaths, a seven percent increase from 2015. Furthermore, the fatal injury rate also increased to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, up from 3.4 in 2015, according to an OSHA news release.
The fatal injury rate was the highest since 2010, and 2016 also marked the third straight year with an increase in total workplace fatalities.
In the release, OSHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt said the increase in worker deaths is “tragic trend.”
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is committed to finding new and innovative ways of working with employers and employees to improve workplace safety and health,” Sweatt said. “OSHA will work to address these trends through enforcement, compliance assistance, education and training, and outreach.”
Fatalities by Type of Incident
The news release from the BLS provided more insight into the latest data. Transportation incidents resulted in 2,083 deaths, which was about 40 percent of all workplace deaths. Transportation accounted for more workplace deaths than the next two causes combined.
Violence and other injuries by persons or animals, which includes self-inflicted incidents, increased by 23 percent to become the second-most common fatal incident in 2016, vaulting ahead of falls, slips, and trips. Fires and explosions had a large decline of 27 percent.
Drug overdoses jumped 32 percent, continuing a trend of at least a 25 percent annual increase since 2012, according to the BLS.
The Most Dangerous Jobs
Logging workers, which are always near or at the top of the list, had the highest fatal work injury rate in 2016 at 135.9 per 100,000 full time equivalent workers with a total of 91 deaths. Fishers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, roofers, and refuse and recyclable material collectors rounded out the top five occupations with the highest injury rates.
Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers had the most total fatalities at 918, but had the seventh highest fatality rate at 24.7.