Work Safety Introduction

2016 marks the third consecutive year preventable work deaths – totaling 4,398 –increased. In addition to preventable fatal work injuries, 792 homicides and suicides occurred in the workplace in 2016. These intentional injuries are not included in the preventable-injury data presented in this section.

Preventable work deaths increased 5% from 2015 to 2016, following a smaller increase of 1% from 2014 to 2015. The death rate of 3.1 per 100,000 workers was up 3% from the 2015 rate of 3.0.

Work-related medically consulted injuries totaled 4.5 million in 2016, and total work injury costs were estimated at $151.1 billion. Costs include wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle property damage, and employer costs.

2016 Occupational Safety Highlights

Preventable injury-related deaths 4,398
Preventable injury-related deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers 3.1
Medically consulted injuries 4,530,000
Workers 152,632,000
Costs  $151.1 billion

Source: Deaths reflect National Safety Council analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). All other figures are NSC estimates based on data from BLS.

In 2016, the industry sector experiencing the largest number of preventable fatal injuries was construction, followed by transportation and warehousing. The industry sector experiencing the highest fatality rates per 100,000 workers was agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, followed by transportation and warehousing.

  • Chart
  • Data Table
  • Chart
  • Data Table

Preventable injuries at work by industry, United States, 2016

Industry division
Hours worked(a) (millions)
Deaths (a) Deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers(a) Medically consulted injuries
2016
Change from 2015
2016
Change from 2015
All industries 283,101 4,398 5% 3.1 3% 4,530,000
Agriculture (b) 4,983 567 3% 22.8 1% 150,000
Mining (b) 1,769 86 -28% 9.7 -14% 10,000
Construction 19,530 959 6% 9.8 0% 310,000
Manufacturing 31,312 270 -15% 1.7 -15% 560,000
Wholesale trade 7,425 170 9% 4.6 10% 100,000
Retail trade 29,037 136 -4% 0.9 -10% 480,000
Transportation and warehousing 11,510 764 8% 13.3 4% 260,000
Utilities 2,121 27 23% 2.5 14% 20,000
Information 5,323 41 17% 1.5 15% 30,000
Financial activities 19,822 70 17% 0.7 17% 110,000
Professional and business services 34,110 475 13% 2.8 8% 240,000
Educational and health services 42,451 111 3% 0.5 0% 830,000
Leisure and hospitality 22,866 202 45% 1.8 38% 390,000
Other services (b) 12,877 153 0% 2.4 0% 150,000
Government 37,965 364 2% 1.9 0% 890,000

(a) Deaths include persons of all ages. Workers and death rates include persons 16 years and older. The rate is calculated as: (number of fatal work injuries x 200,000,000/total hours worked). The base for 100,000 full-time equivalent workers is 200,000,000 hours. Prior to 2008, rates were based on estimated employment – not hours worked.
(b) Agriculture includes forestry, fishing, and hunting. Mining includes oil and gas extraction. “Other services” excludes public administration.

Source: NSC analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics CFOI surveillance program.

Notes:

All CFOI fatal injury rates published by BLS for the years 1992-2007 were employment-based and measured the risk of fatal injury for those employed during a given period of time, regardless of hours worked. Starting in 2008, BLS moved 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 fatality rates prior to 2008.