BLS Data Show Rise in Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2014

According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of fatal injuries on the job increased in 2014, marking the first significant year-over-year rise in a decade.

The preliminary numbers from the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) show 4,679 fatal work injuries recorded in 2014, compared to 4,585 during the previous year – an increase of 2 percent. This follows a decrease in every year after 2004, with the exception of 2010, when the number remained about the same as in the previous year.

Although the number increased, the rate of fatal work injuries stayed the same as in 2013 – 3.3 per 100,000 full-time workers. And as the American workforce continues to grow, we can expect that the number of incidents on the job will grow with it. Still, one thing remains certain – workplace injuries and fatalities are happening too often.

“Far too many people are still killed on the job – 13 workers every day taken from their families tragically and unnecessarily,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement on the 2014 data. “These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires.”  

Here are other key findings from the 2014 data:

  • Fatal work injuries increased by 9 percent in private goods-producing industries and decreased slightly in private service-producing industries.
  • Fatal injuries were higher in mining (up 17 percent), agriculture (14 percent), manufacturing (9 percent), and construction (6 percent).
  • Falls, slips, and trips resulting in fatalities increased 10 percent, with 793 in 2014 versus 724 in 2013.
  • Women incurred 13 percent more fatal work injuries in 2014 than 2013, yet accounted for only 8 percent of all fatal injuries.
  • Fatal injuries involving workers 55 and older increased 9 percent. The preliminary count of 1,621 is the highest ever reported by CFOI. 
  • Work fatalities among Hispanic workers were lower (789 versus 817 in 2013), while fatal injuries among white, black and Asian workers were all higher.

The data serve as a reminder of how critical it is for employers to be vigilant when it comes to employee safety. From training to safety data sheet management to incident tracking and reporting, a comprehensive safety program is essential for preventing injuries – and to ensure incidents are handled appropriately if they do happen. Remember, assistance is available. Contact an MSDSonline Representative at 1.888.362.2007 to learn how we can help you maintain a safe workplace.

BLS will release final counts for 2014 in the spring of 2016. For more details on the preliminary results, see the BLS news release.