2020 Workers’ Memorial Day – Fatal Occupational Injuries


Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) 50 years ago, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Unions, worker advocates, and other allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer and saved lives. We still, however, have work to do. Each year, thousands of workers are killed, and millions more suffer injury or illness because of inadequate employer protections and needless exposure to workplace hazards, some of which go unreported. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks reported worker injuries and illnesses and details the findings in a summary report every year called the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). The most recently published data findings from the BLS reports are detailed below.

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Summary, 2018[i]

There were 5,250 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2018, a 2 percent increase from the 5,147 in 2017. The fatal work injury rate remained unchanged at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. 

Types of Workplace Incidents:

Occupations with the Highest Injury Rates:

Other Key Findings from the CFOI Report:

Nonfatal Workplace Injury and Illness (SOII report), 2018

There were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017. The incidence rate for total recordable cases (TRC) in private industry also remained unchanged from a year ago. This is the first year since 2012 that the TRC rate did not decline. The incidence rates for days away from work (DAFW) cases and for days of job transfer and restriction only (DJTR) cases did not change from 2017. Of the 900,380 DAFW cases in private industry, 333,830 (37 percent) required a visit to a medical facility. Of these, 294,750 required a trip to the emergency room and did not require hospitalization, and 39,080 cases required in-patient hospitalization, either with or without an E.R. visit.

[i] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm