Posted on 21 Aug 2009
A total of 5,071 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2008, down from a total of 5,657 fatal work injuries reported for 2007. While the 2008 results are preliminary, this figure represents the smallest annual preliminary total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program was first conducted in 1992.
Based on these preliminary counts, the rate of fatal injury for U.S. workers in 2008 was 3.6 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down from the final rate of 4.0 in 2007.
Key findings of the 2008 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:
· Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector in 2008 declined by 20 percent from the updated 2007 total, twice the all-worker decline of 10 percent.
· Fatal workplace falls, which had risen to a series high in 2007, also declined by 20 percent in 2008.
· Workplace suicides were up 28 percent to a series high of 251 cases in 2008, but workplace homicides declined 18 percent in 2008.
· The number and rate of fatal work injuries among 16 to 17 year-old workers were higher in 2008.
· Fatal occupational injuries involving Hispanic or Latino workers in 2008 were 17 percent lower than in 2007.
· Fatalities among non-Hispanic Black or African American workers were down 16 percent.
· The number of fatal workplace injuries in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations rose 6 percent in 2008 after declining in 2007.
· Transportation incidents, which accounted for approximately two-fifths of all the workplace fatalities in 2008, fell 13 percent from the previous series low of 2,351 cases reported in 2007.
In June of 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics introduced improved fatality rates for the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). The new rates, based on hours worked as opposed to employment, are considered to be more accurate in measuring the risk of dying from an injury on the job. Further information on the rates is available at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshnotice10.htm.
Economic factors likely played a role in the fatality decrease. Average hours worked at the national level fell by one percent in 2008, and some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of worker fatalities, such as construction, experienced larger declines in employment or hours worked.