Work Safety Introduction

The number of preventable work deaths increased 2% in 2019, totaling 4,572. In addition to preventable fatal work injuries, 761 homicides and suicides occurred in the workplace in 2019. These intentional injuries are not included in the preventable-injury estimates.

2019 is the second consecutive year preventable work deaths increased 2%, following a 0% increase in 2017, a 5% increase in 2016, and a 1% increase in 2015. The preventable death rate of 3.1 per 100,000 workers has not changed since 2016. Work-related medically consulted injuries totaled 4.64 million in 2019. 

2019 Occupational Safety Highlights

Preventable injury-related deaths 4,572
Preventable injury-related deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers 3.1
Medically consulted injuries 4,640,000
Workers 158,725
Costs  $171.0 billion

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

In 2019, 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 mining.

Please note: BLS did not report fatality data at the private industry level for several major industry sectors in 2019. BLS indicates these industries did not meet publishable standards for 2019. BLS suppresses industry estimates if they don’t meet certain criteria for both reliability and confidentiality. In 2019 BLS updated the standards for confidentiality due to concerns about secondary disclosure that may have affected publishing particular estimates, though BLS is not able to confirm any specific cause. Because of this change, the number of preventable deaths not assigned to an industry is 956, or 21% of all preventable deaths in 2019.

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  • Data Table
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  • Data Table

Preventable injuries at work by industry, United States, 2019

Industry division
Hours worked(a) (millions)
Deaths (a) Deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers(a) Medically consulted injuries
2019
Change from 2018
2019
Change from 2018
All industries 296,600 4,572 2% 3.1 0% 4,640,000
Agriculture (b) 4,900 541 -1% 22.1 -3% 130,000
Mining (b) 1,700 123 -3% 14.5 5% 10,000
Construction 21,700 1,003 (d) 6% 9.2 3% 330,000
Manufacturing NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) 550,000
Wholesale trade 7,200 160 -13% 4.4 -10% 100,000
Retail trade 28,600 163 9% 1.1 10% 500,000
Transportation and warehousing 13,100 869 (d) 5% 13.3 -1% 290,000
Utilities 2,300 19 (d) -27% 1.7 -29% 20,000
Information NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) 40,000
Financial activities 20,700 71 -3% 0.7 0% 100,000
Professional and business services NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) NR (c) 240,000
Educational and health services 45,800 159 (d) 22% 0.7 17% 850,000
Leisure and hospitality 23,700 175 14% 1.5 15% 390,000
Other services (b) 13,400 154 3% 2.3 5% 150,000
Government 39,200 314 -6% 1.6 -6% 940,000
Industry not reported by BLS NR (c) 956 17,520% NR (c) NR (c)

(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.

(c) BLS did not report fatality data at the private industry level for several major industry sectors in 2019. BLS indicates these industries did not meet publishable standards for 2019. BLS suppresses industry estimates if they don’t meet certain criteria for both reliability and confidentiality. In 2019 BLS updated the standards for confidentiality due to concerns about secondary disclosure that may have affected publishing particular estimates, though BLS is not able to confirm any specific cause.

(d) BLS did not report the number of intentional injury deaths for several major industry sectors in 2019 (see footnote (c) for more details). Because the number of intentional deaths is relatively small, NSC used historic data to estimate the number of intentional deaths in order to estimate the number of preventable/unintentional deaths in 2019.

Source: NSC analysis of data from the BLS 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.