In mid-December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released their annual report on fatalities and injuries in the workplace. The report details specific data from the year prior, so all the statistics are from 2020. There were 4,764 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2020, a 10.7 percent decrease from 5,333 in 2019, the BLS reported. The fatal work injury rate was 3.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down from 3.5 per 100,000 FTE in 2019.
Key findings from the 2020 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries
- The 4,764 fatal occupational injuries in 2020 represents the lowest annual number since 2013.
- A worker died every 111 minutes from a work-related injury in 2020.
- Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event with 1,778 fatal injuries, accounting for 37.3 percent of all work-related fatalities.
- The share of Hispanic or Latino workers fatally injured on the job continued to grow, increasing to 22.5 percent (1,072 fatalities) from 20.4 percent (1,088 fatalities) in 2019.
- Suicides decreased 15.6 percent from 307 in 2019 to 259 in 2020, representing the lowest count for occupational suicides since 2015.
- Women made up 8.1 percent of all fatalities but represented 16.3 percent of workplace homicides in 2020.
- In 2020, workers between the ages of 45 and 54 suffered 954 workplace fatalities, the lowest count for this age group since 1992.
- The fatality rate for Hispanic or Latino workers was 4.5 deaths per 100,000 FTE workers in 2020, up from 4.2 in 2019.
- Black or African American workers had a 14.7-percent decrease in occupational fatalities in 2020, falling from 634 in 2019 to 541 in 2020.
Fatal event or exposure
- Fatal transportation incidents fell 16.2 percent to 1,778 in 2020 from 2,122 in 2019.
- Fatalities due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals decreased from 841 fatalities in 2019 to 705 fatalities in 2020 (-16.2 percent). The largest subcategory, intentional injuries by person, decreased 14.5 percent to 651 in 2020.
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to 672 worker fatalities in 2020, the highest figure since the series began in 2011. Within this category, unintentional overdose from nonmedical use of drugs accounted for 57.7 percent of fatalities (388 deaths), up from 48.8 percent in 2019.
- Workers in transportation and material moving occupations and construction and extraction occupations accounted for nearly half of all fatal occupational injuries (47.4 percent), representing 1,282 and 976 workplace deaths, respectively.
- Sales occupations and office and administrative support occupations had a 19.0-percent decrease in fatal occupational injuries between 2019 (332 deaths) and 2020 (269 deaths).
- Fatalities in healthcare support occupations increased 15.8 percent to 44 fatalities, up from 38 in 2019.
- Fatal occupational injuries among law enforcement workers increased 18.6 percent between 2019 and 2020, from 97 to 115.
- The fatal injury rate for aircraft pilots and flight engineers decreased from 61.8 per 100,000 FTEs in 2019 to 34.3 in 2020.
- Fishing and hunting workers had a fatal injury rate of 132.1 fatal work injuries per 100,000 FTEs in 2020. Transportation incidents accounted for 71.4 percent of fishing and hunting workers’ deaths.