Work-related Fatality Trends
As a result of the economic disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of hours worked decreased 9% in 2020. This marks the first decrease in hours worked since 2009. Hours worked in 2021 recovered 5% from 2020 levels but are still down 4% from 2019 levels. The increased hours worked in 2021 partially accounts for a 6% increase in preventable work deaths in 2021, now totaling 4,472. The preventable death rate increased from 3.0 in 2020 to 3.1 per 100,000 workers in 2021. Since 2011, the number of preventable work deaths has increased over 14%, while the death rate per 100,000 workers has increased 3%. In addition to preventable fatal work injuries, 718 homicides and suicides occurred in the workplace in 2021. These intentional injuries are not included in the preventable-injury estimates.
- Data Table
- Data Table
Source: Deaths are from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). Employment is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and is based on the Current Population Survey. All other data are National Safety Council (NSC) estimates.
Note: Starting in 2008, BLS moved from employment-based rates to hours-based rates to measure fatal injury risk per standardized length of exposure, which are generally considered more accurate than employment-based rates. Caution should be used when comparing with rates prior to 2008.