Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ released their annual census on fatal occupational injuries for 2016. According to the report, there were 5,190 workplace fatalities in 2016, a 7% increase from 2015 and the highest since 2008. The fatal injury rate also increased from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2015 to 3.6 in 2016.
Transportation incidents were once again the leading cause of workplace fatalities. They were responsible for 40% of worker deaths (2,083). Workplace violence injuries were the second most common cause of workplace deaths with 866 (up 23% from last year). The third most common was injuries from falls, slips, or trips with 849 (6% increase). Fatal falls, slips, and trips have seen a continued upward trend since 2011. Arguably the most alarming trend is that the number of overdoses on the job increased by 32% in 2016, and the number of fatalities has increased by at least 25% annually since 2012.
Two other workplace injuries that saw drastic changes in fatalities between 2015 and 2016 were exposure to harmful substances or environment (22% increase) and fires and explosions (27% decrease).