Last year’s preliminary accident estimates are in, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)reports that 4,405 work injuries occurred in the US in 2013, indicating a drop when compared to the 4,628 work injuries the year before that. This works out to a rate of fatal workplace injury of 3.2 per 100,000 workers, as compared to 3.4 per 100,000 full time workers in 2012. The final data for 2013 will be available in 2015.
Private sector: Fatal work injuries, amounting to 3,929, in the private sector were 6% less than in 2012. This is the lowest since 1992 when such figures were first recorded.
Hispanic workers more vulnerable: However, there was a rise of 7% in fatal work injuries among Hispanic workers. These 797 injuries are the highest among this demographic since 2008. No other ethnic group saw a similar rise.
Contract workers also vulnerable: Contract workers’ fatal work injuries saw a 17% rise in 2013, to reach a total figure of 734. Fatal work injuries among workers under 16 dropped to 5 in 2012 as against 19 in 2012.
Violence at the workplace: Violence was responsible for one in six fatal workplace injuries last year. Although workplace suicides were 8% higher last year than in 2012, workplace homicides were 16% lower than in the year before last. Unfortunately, shootings remain the most frequent manner of death when it comes to violent workplace fatalities, and women are higher targets — 22 percent of fatal work injuries among women were due to homicide, compared to 8 percent for men.
Large fires increased deaths among firefighters: Some outlier incidents, in which many firefighters lost their lives, caused a spike in fatal workplace injuries among firemen- to 53 in 2013 from 19 in 2012.
Road injuries still a high contributor: Fatal transportation incidents were still responsible for two in five fatal workplace injuries, although they saw a 10% drop in 2013 compared to 2012. Fatal workplace injuries in the government sector saw a rise of 5% last year compared to 2012.
“We can and must do more to keep America’s workers safe and healthy,” says U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable.”