In the private sector, there were 3,945 fatal work injuries in 2012, down 6 percent to a new series low. Both goods-producing industries and service-providing industries showed declines.
Among goods-producing sectors, the number of fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased 5 percent in 2012. Total hours worked were higher by one percent in 2012. The increase in 2012 was the first in construction fatalities since 2006. Construction fatalities are down 37 percent over that time. Construction accounted for the highest number of fatal work injuries of any industry sector in 2012.
Fatal work injuries in the private mining sector increased 14 percent to 177 in 2012 from 155 in 2011—the highest level since 2007. The number of fatal work injury cases in oil and gas extraction industries rose to 138 in 2012 from 112 in 2011; the 2012 figure represents a series high. Fatal work injuries in coal mining increased slightly, and fatal work injuries in support activities for mining increased 9 percent. CFOI has used the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to define industry since 2003, and data on oil and gas extraction industries in CFOI comprise NAICS 21111 Oil and gas extraction, NAICS 213111 Drilling oil and gas wells, and NAICS 213112 Support activities for oil and gas operations.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting fatalities decreased 16 percent to 475 in 2012 from 566 in 2011. This follows a 9 percent drop in agriculture fatalities in 2011. Fatal injuries in the crop production, animal production, forestry and logging, and fishing sectors were all lower in 2012. Despite the declines in fatal work injuries in this sector over the last two years, agriculture recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry sector at 21.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012.
Among service-providing industries in the private sector, fatal work injuries in transportation and warehousing accounted for 677 fatal work injuries in 2012, a decrease of 10 percent over the revised 2011 count (749 fatalities).
The number of fatal injuries in truck transportation, the largest subsector within transportation and warehousing in terms of employment, decreased 6 percent in 2012. (As noted, transportation counts presented in this release are expected to rise when updated 2012 data are released in Spring 2014.) Among other transportation subsectors, fatal work injuries in air transportation were slightly higher, but fatalities in water and rail transportation were lower in 2012.
Fatal work injuries in the financial activities sector declined 17 percent in 2012 to 81. The professional and business services sector also reported lower numbers of fatal injuries in 2012, down 10 percent from 2011.
Fatal occupational injuries among government workers decreased 13 percent from 2011 to 438 fatal work injuries, the lowest fatal work injury total since the start of the fatality census. Both state government and local government showed declines (19 percent and 16 percent, respectively), though fatal injuries among federal government workers remained about the same.
For more detailed information on fatal injuries by industry, see the 2012 tables at www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.
Fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations rose for the second year in a row to 838—a 5 percent increase from 2011. Hours worked increased one percent in this occupation group during that period. Fatal injuries among construction trades workers rose in 2012 to 577 after 5 years of decline. This marked an 8 percent increase over the series low of 533 in 2011, but a 41 percent drop from the high of 977 reported in 2006. Fatal work injuries to construction laborers, the subgroup in this category with the highest number of fatalities, increased 10 percent to 210 in 2012, following a series low of 191 in 2011. Fatal injuries to roofers, another subgroup within construction trades workers, rose to 70 in 2012, a 17 percent rise from 2011 marking the highest count in 5 years.
Fatal work injuries in transportation and material moving occupations were down 7 percent to 1,150 in 2012. Fatal work injuries in this occupational group accounted for about one quarter of all fatal occupational injuries.
Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers was the subgroup within transportation and material moving occupations with the highest number of fatal injuries. Dropping 4 percent, this subgroup recorded 741 fatalities in 2012. Fatal injuries to taxi drivers and chauffeurs were down 28 percent to a series low of 46. (As noted, transportation and material moving counts presented in this release are expected to rise when updated 2012 data are released in Spring 2014.)
The number of fatal work injuries among protective service occupations decreased 21 percent in 2012 to 224 fatalities–reaching the lowest count since the occupational series began in 2003. The decline was led by lower numbers of fatal injuries to police and sheriff’s patrol officers, which dropped 20 percent to 104 in 2012 to continue a two-year downward trend. Fatal injuries to both security guards and firefighters reached series lows with 48 and 17 fatalities, respectively.
Fatal work injuries to workers in management occupations declined 8 percent to 429 in 2012—the lowest level in the series. This decrease was driven primarily by the 19 percent decline in fatal injuries to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers from 268 in 2011 to 216 in 2012.
Fatalities among farming, fishing, and forestry occupations declined 6 percent to 245 in 2012. This was led by the 24 percent drop in fatalities to fishers and related fishing workers from 42 in 2011 to a series low of 32 in 2012.
Fatal injuries to logging workers have remained somewhat level for the last three years, decreasing slightly to 62 in 2012.
Fatal injuries to resident military personnel reached a series low in 2012, dropping 25 percent from 57 fatalities in 2011 to 43.
In addition to identifying the industry in which a decedent was employed, CFOI began in 2011 to identify whether a worker was a contractor. A contractor is defined as a worker employed by one firm but working at the behest of another firm that exercises overall responsibility for the operations at the site where the decedent was fatally injured. This information helps to identify the location and type of work being performed when the fatal work injury occurred.
In 2012, the number of fatal occupational injuries incurred by contractors was 708, or 16 percent of all fatal injuries, compared to 542 reported in 2011. Falls to a lower level accounted for 30 percent of contractor deaths while struck by object or equipment (18 percent) and pedestrian vehicular (11 percent) incidents also were frequent events among contractors.
Fatally-injured contractors were most often contracted by a government entity (151 or 21 percent of all contractors) and by firms in the private construction (133 or 19 percent); mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (68 or 10 percent); and manufacturing (67 or 9 percent) industry sectors.
The majority of contractors (381 or 54 percent) were working in construction and extraction occupations when fatally injured. Decedents in this occupation group were most often employed as construction laborers (101), first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (42), electricians (39), and roofers (32). Among contractors who were employed outside the construction and extraction occupations group, the largest number of fatal occupational injuries was incurred by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (50); tree trimmers and pruners (16); security guards (15); landscaping and groundskeeping workers (14); welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers (14); and athletes and sports competitors (13).
For more detailed information on fatal injuries incurred by contract workers, see the 2012 charts at www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.
Next: Occupational fatalities by states and metro areas.