The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary report on workplace fatalities in the United States holds some good and bad news for the average American worker. According to the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), on-the-job deaths trended slightly downward overall in 2011, with some increases in certain industries and types of death.
Preliminary records show that the rate of fatal work injuries in 2011 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time workers, down slightly from the final rate of 3.6 per 100,000 workers in 2010. Increases in the final data over the last three years have averaged 166 deaths (3 percent) per year over the preliminary data. The final CFOI data will be released in the spring.
Some of the key findings in the preliminary 2011 report are:
- Construction deaths are down for the fifth consecutive year. Fatal work injuries in the private construction industry fell 721 in 2011 from 774 in 2010, a 7 percent drop since 2006 and a staggering 42 percent drop since 2006.
- The rate of workplace violence remains the leading cause of death in the workplace, according to preliminary statistics. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals accounted for 780 workplace deaths, about 17 percent of all fatal workplace injuries in 2011. This number includes 458 work-related homicides and 242 suicides.
- Mining deaths in the private sector, including in the oil and gas extraction industries, fell 10 percent in 2011 after a 74 percent increase in 2010. There were 17 coal miner deaths in 2011, down nearly 40 percent from 43 in 2010.
- Trucking-related fatal work industries rose 14 percent since 2010, the second consecutive year work-related deaths have risen in the private trucking industry after reaching a low in 2009.
- Fatal work injuries increased among non-Hispanic black or African-American workers and among Hispanic or Latino workers in 2011, but declined among non-Hispanic white workers (down 3 percent).
- Fatal work injuries involving workers 55 years of age and older as well as workers under the age of 18 were both lower in 2011, but fatal work injuries among workers in the 20 to 24 age group were up nearly 18 percent.