Work Safety Introduction

The number of preventable work deaths stabilized in 2017, totaling 4,414, after three consecutive years of increases. In addition to preventable fatal work injuries, 733 homicides and suicides occurred in the workplace in 2017. These intentional injuries are not included in the preventable-injury estimates.

Preventable work deaths increased less than 0.5% from 2016 to 2017, following a 5% increase in 2016, a 1% increase in 2015, and a 6% increase in 2014. The preventable death rate of 3.1 per 100,000 workers was unchanged from 2016 to 2017.

Work-related medically consulted injuries totaled 4.5 million in 2017, and total work injury costs were estimated at $161.5 billion. Costs include wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor-vehicle property damage, and employer costs.

2018 Occupational Safety Highlights

Preventable injury-related deaths 4,493
Preventable injury-related deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers 3.1
Medically consulted injuries 4,600,000
Workers 156,948,000
Costs  $170.8 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 2018, 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.

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  • Data Table
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  • Data Table

Preventable injuries at work by industry, United States, 2018

Industry division
Hours worked(a) (millions)
Deaths (a) Deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers(a) Medically consulted injuries
2018
Change from 2017
2018
Change from 2017
All industries 292,528 4,493 2% 3.1 0% 4,600,000
Agriculture (b) 4,805 548 -2% 22.8 1% 130,000
Mining (b) 1,840 127 15% 13.8 10% 10,000
Construction 21,318 950 3% 8.9 -2% 320,000
Manufacturing 31,862 303 11% 1.9 12% 540,000
Wholesale trade 7,528 184 16% 4.9 14% 110,000
Retail trade 29,184 149 -8% 1.0 -9% 510,000
Transportation and warehousing 12,376 830 1% 13.4 -5% 280,000
Utilities 2,195 26 13% 2.4 14% 20,000
Information 5,367 21 -43% 0.8 -43% 30,000
Financial activities 20,500 73 6% 0.7 0% 100,000
Professional and business services 35,534 509 9% 2.9 7% 230,000
Educational and health services 44,391 130 -9% 0.6 -14% 820,000
Leisure and hospitality 22,930 154 -8% 1.3 -13% 380,000
Other services (b) 13,627 149 -2% 2.2 -4% 150,000
Government 39,069 335 -4% 1.7 -6% 940,000

(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 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.