Health & Safety Institute Blog

January 18, 2018

Recent BLS Figures on Workplace Fatalities

The Bureau of Labor Statistics posted new data in December regarding deaths from on-the-job injuries for 2016.

According to a BLS news release, 5,190 deaths occurred in 2016 from workplace injuries, a 7% increase over the previous year:

“This is the third consecutive increase in annual workplace fatalities and the first time more than 5,000 fatalities have been recorded by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries since 2008. The fatal injury rate increased to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 3.4 in 2015, the highest rate since 2010.”

Other findings include:

  • Work injuries involving transportation incidents remained the most common fatal event in 2016, accounting for 40%.
  • Fatalities associated with exposure to harmful substances or environments rose 22%.
  • Fatal work injuries from slips, trips and falls increased 6%, with a 25% overall increase since 2011. Deaths from falls increased more than 25% in 2016 for workers who routinely perform elevated work, such as roofers, carpenters, tree trimmers and pruners, as well as for truck drivers.
  • Overdoses from the non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased 32%. Overdose fatalities have increased by at least 25% annually since 2012.
  • In 2016, fatal injuries among transportation and material moving occupations increased by 7% to 1,388, the highest count since 2007 and accounting for more than one-quarter of all work-related fatalities.
  • Occupations with increases greater than 10% in the number of fatal work injuries in 2016 include food preparation and serving related occupations (64%); installation, maintenance, and repair occupations (20%); building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations (14%); and sales and related occupations (11%).

Reversing these trends cannot be accomplished by EHS professionals on their own. Making our workplaces safer requires a commitment from the entire organization – from the CEO to the shop floor managers to the workers themselves – to a culture of safety. To win that commitment, a company’s EHS program should be as transparent and accessible as possible, so that everyone understands the organization’s safety goals, their own responsibility in reaching those goals and, most importantly, the appropriate practices and procedures to follow every day to make it happen.

Summit Training Source was the first to specialize in safety training, and continues to make training flexible and affordable while making workplaces safer. Our growing library of more than 300 safety topic courses includes OSHA 10- and 30-Hour and HAZWOPER, and features convenient course bundles such as our Construction, Industrial/Manufacturing and “OSHA Top 10 Violations” packages.

Keep your workers from becoming statistics. Learn more about how Summit can help you meet OSHA, DOL, EPA and other compliance requirements and build a culture of safety at your organization.

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