Workplace Fatalities – Statistics 2017 – Trucking and material handling are in the top ranks of highly dangerous occupations where fatalities occur.
There was a total of 5,147 workplace fatalities were recorded in the United States in 2017. This is down slightly from the 5,190 that were registered in 2016, according to the annual report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However the 2017 number is still far higher than the previous 14-year low of 4,551 in 2009.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the fatal injury rate decreased to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.6 in 2016. A total of 27 states had fewer injuries in 2017 than 2016, while 21 states and the District of Columbia had more; California and Maine had the same number as 2016. A total of 192 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) had five or more fatal work injuries in 2017.
The bureau reported that recordable injuries and illnesses in the private sector continued their 14-year slide in 2017. Employers had 2.8 total recordable cases per 100 workers, barely half the number reported in 2003, BLS notes.
The transportation and material moving occupations, and construction and mining occupation groups accounted for 47% of worker deaths in 2017. Incidents that occur due to transportation remained the most frequent fatal event in 2017, with 2,077 (40%) occupational fatalities.
Workplace fatalities in the group driver/sales workers and truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the largest number of fatalities. The number of deaths in this group were 840, this is the highest since the occupational series began in 2003.
Private manufacturing industry workplace fatalities were the lowest since this series began in 2003.
Looking at the causes of workplace fatalities, BLS says fatal falls were at their highest level in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), accounting for 887 (17%) worker deaths. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals decreased 7% in 2017 with homicides and suicides decreasing by 8% and 5%, respectively.
Contact with objects and equipment incidents were down 9% (695 in 2017 from 761 in 2016) with caught in running equipment or machinery deaths down 26% (76 in 2017 from 103 in 2016). Confined space fatalities rose 15% to 166 in 2017 from 144 in 2016. Fatalities due to cranes in the workplace fell to 33, this is the lowest level ever..
Workers over the age of 44 accounted for 2,989 of the total 5,147 workplace fatalities in 2017, a slight reduction on 2016 when the number was 2,993. Workers over the age of 65 made up 15% of the fatally-injured workers in 2017, the highest ever.
In term of industry sectors, workplace fatalities in the private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry increased 26% to 112 in 2017, up from a series low of 89 in 2016. Over 70% of these fatalities were incurred by workers in the oil and gas extraction industries.
Fishers and related fishing workers and logging workers had the highest published rates of fatal injury in 2017. There were 258 workplace fatalities among farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers in 2017. About 63% of these farmers were age 65 and over (162) with 48 being age 80 or over. Of the 258 deaths, 103 involved a farm tractor.
Grounds maintenance workers accounted for 244 workplace fatalities in 2017, a small decrease from the previous year at 247. This was still the second-highest total since 2003. Falls from trees accounted for a total of 36 deaths and 35 more were as a result of being struck by a fall tree/branch.
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