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US occupational injury census sees small drop in workplace fatalities for 2011

02 October 2012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the preliminary results of its National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Findings show that the number of fatal work injuries in 2011 was slightly lower than final results from 2010. Last year, 4,609 workers died from work-related injuries, down from 4,690 in 2010.

Preliminary figures for 2011 show 4,609 workers died from work-related injuries, down from 4,690 in 2010
Preliminary figures for 2011 show 4,609 workers died from work-related injuries, down from 4,690 in 2010

The rate of fatal work injury for US workers in 2011 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, as compared to a final rate of 3.6 per 100,000 for 2010. 

Final 2011 data from the CFOI program will be released in spring 2013.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement in response to the census: "Today's report shows a decline in the number of workplace fatalities. It's a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. We will continue to collaborate with employers, workers, labor leaders, and safety and health professionals to ensure that every American who clocks in for a shift can make it home safe and sound at the end of the day. On average, 13 workers lose their lives each and every day, and that loss ripples throughout their communities."

Key preliminary findings of the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

* Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector declined to 721 in 2011 from 774 in 2010, a decline of 7% and the fifth consecutive year of lower fatality counts. Fatal construction injuries are down nearly 42% since 2006. 

* Violence and other injuries by persons or animals accounted for 780 fatalities, or about 17% of the fatal injuries in the workplace in 2011. Included in this count are 458 homicides and 242 suicides.

* Work-related fatalities in the private mining industry (which includes oil and gas extraction) were down 10% in 2011 after an increase of 74% in 2010. Coal mining fatalities fell to 17 in 2011 from 43 in 2010.

* Fatal work injuries in private truck transportation rose 14% in 2011-the second consecutive year that counts have risen in this sector after reaching a series low in 2009.

* Fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 666 workers in 2011, or about 14 percent of all fatal work injuries. Falls to lower level accounted for 541 of those fatalities, and about one in four (115) occurred after a fall of 10 feet or less. Another fourth (118) occurred from a fall of over 30 feet.

* A total of 472 workers were fatally injured after being struck by objects or equipment, including 219 workers who were struck by falling objects or equipment and 192 who were struck by powered vehicles or mobile equipment not in normal operation.

There were 152 multiple-fatality incidents in 2011 (incidents in which more than one worker was killed) in which 354 workers died. 

For more detailed information on fatal injuries by incident, see the 2011 tables at: www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm

For more detailed information on fatal injuries by industry, see the 2011 tables at: www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm

For more detailed information on fatal injuries by occupation, see the 2011 tables at: www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm






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