Comparing annual workplace fatality data, 1992-2008

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

A total of 5,071 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2008, down from a total of 5,657 fatal work injuries reported for 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the 2008 results are preliminary, this figure represents the smallest annual preliminary total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries program was first conducted in 1992.

Key findings of the 2008 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

  • In 2008, fatal work injuries in the private construction sector declined by 20 percent from the updated 2007 total.
  • Fatal workplace falls, which had risen to a series high in 2007, also declined by 20 percent in 2008.
  • Workplace suicides were up 28 percent to a series high of 251 cases in 2008, but workplace homicides declined 18 percent in 2008.
  • Fatal occupational injuries involving Hispanic or Latino workers in 2008 were 17 percent lower than in 2007. Fatalities among non-Hispanic Black or African American workers were down 16 percent.
  • Transportation incidents, which accounted for approximately two-fifths of all the workplace fatalities in 2008, fell 13 percent from the previous series low of 2,351 cases reported in 2007.

Economic factors likely played a role in the fatality decrease. Average hours worked at the national level fell by one percent in 2008, and some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of worker fatalities, such as construction, experienced larger declines in employment or hours worked.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, part of the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program, provides the most complete count of fatal work injuries available. For more information on fatal work injuries, see "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2008" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL 09-0979. Data for the most recent year are preliminary; final results for 2008 will be released in April 2010.  The total for 2001 excludes work-related fatalities that resulted from the September 11 terrorist attacks, which were tabulated separately.

Number of fatal work injuries, 1992–2008
Year Fatalities

1992   6,217
1993   6,331
1994   6,632
1995   6,275
1996   6,202
1997   6,238
1998   6,055
1999   6,054
2000   5,920
2001   5,915
2002   5,534
2003   5,575
2004   5,764
2005   5,734
2006   5,840
2007   5,657
2008   5,071 (P)

P : Preliminary 

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