Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries were released Sept. 20 and show that the number of fatal work injuries in 2011 was slightly lower than final results from 2010.
Last year, 4,609 workers died from work-related injuries, down from a final count of 4,690 in 2010.
"Today’s report shows a decline in the number of workplace fatalities. It’s a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis . “We will continue to collaborate with employers, workers, labor leaders and safety and health professionals to ensure that every American who clocks in for a shift can make it home safe and sound at the end of the day.”
Key preliminary findings of the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found:
- Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector declined to 721 in 2011 from 774 in 2010, a decline of 7 percent and the fifth consecutive year of lower fatality counts.
- Fatal construction injuries are down nearly 42 percent since 2006.
- Violence and other injuries by persons or animals accounted for 780 fatalities, or about 17 percent of the fatal injuries in the workplace in 2011. Included in this count are 458 homicides and 242 suicides. Work-related fatalities in the private mining industry (which includes oil and gas extraction) were down 10 percent in 2011 after an increase of 74 percent in 2010. Coal mining fatalities fell to 17 in 2011 from 43 in 2010.
- Fatal work injuries in private truck transportation rose 14 percent in 2011; the second consecutive year that counts have risen in this sector after reaching a series 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.
Solis noted that on average, 13 workers lose their lives every day, “and that loss ripples throughout their communities. Children, parents, brothers, sisters and neighbors all bear an enormous burden when a loved one dies on the job,” she said.
“It’s clear that we must maintain our commitment to ensuring our workplaces are safer and healthier for every American. This is a challenge that must be undertaken not just by the government, but by the entire country. We know how to prevent these fatalities, and all employers must take the steps necessary to keep their workers safe,” said Solis.
“At the Labor Department, we take these challenges very seriously. Each and every one of us is committed to doing what we can so that every worker can return home at the end of the day in the same condition he or she left. The workers of our nation deserve nothing less.”