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Workplace Fatalities On the Rise


Oil workers operating oil drilling equipment

A new report shows that workplace fatalities are becoming increasingly common with a 7-percent increase in workplace deaths in 2016 alone.

Workplace Fatalities Have Been on the Rise for Three Consecutive Years

2016 marked the third consecutive year that workplace fatalities have risen and also marked the first time in nearly a decade that the number of workers killed on the job topped 5,000, according to the National Safety Council.

Data shows that in 2016, there were 5,190 workplace fatalities recorded in the United States, a seven-percent increase over 2015, and that rate of fatal workplace injuries rose from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2015 to 3.6 in 2016.

Transportation incidents cause the most workplace deaths in 2016, accounting for roughly one out of every four fatal injuries. Workplace violence injuries increased by a disheartening 23 percent, making it the second most common cause of workplace death.

Analysts also noted a 22-percent increase in exposure to harmful substances or environments.

Industries with an increase greater than 10 percent in fatal work injuries included:

  • Food preparation and servicing (64 percent)
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair (20 percent)
  • Building and ground cleaning and maintenance (14 percent)
  • Sales and related occupations (11 percent)

2016 Workplace Injury Statistics

The following information was provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

  • 5,190 work-related deaths were recorded in 2016, marking an average of more than 99 deaths a week or more than 14 deaths every day.
  • Of the 4,693 fatalities recorded in the private industry, 991 or 21.1 percent occurred in construction.
  • Among the leading causes of work-related deaths were:
    • Falls
    • Transportation accidents
    • Struck-by object
    • Electrocution
    • Caught-in/between

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