As thousands enter the workforce, there were 43 fewer workplace fatalities in 2017 than the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017 (CFOI) report. The fatal injury rate also decreased from 3.6% in 2016 to 3.5% in 2017.
“While today’s report shows a decline in the number of workplace fatalities, the loss of even one worker is too many,” said Loren Sweatt, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “Through comprehensive enforcement and compliance assistance that includes educating job creators about their responsibilities under the law, and providing robust education opportunities to workers, OSHA is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the American workforce.”
In addition to the decline in overall fatalities, crane-related workplace fatalities, and fatal occupational injuries in the private manufacturing industry and wholesale trade industries reached their lowest points since the CFOI started in 1992.
However, the number of unintentional overdoses due to the nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol while at work increased by 25%—the fifth consecutive year overdose deaths rose by at least 25%. “The scourge of opioid addiction unfortunately continues to take its toll on workers across the country, demonstrating the importance of this Administration’s efforts to tackle this crisis,” commented Sweatt.
Other categories that saw year-over-year increases in occupational fatalities included workers aged 65 and over; the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry; fatal injuries involving confined spaces; and fatal injuries resulting from slips, trips, and falls.