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Worker Fatality Rate Up for First Time in Four Years

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The federal government’s final count of fatal occupational injuries for 2014 is in, and it shows that overall, numbers were up from the previous year, the first such increase since 2010.

According to the revisions to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the overall fatal work injury rate in 2014 was 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, up from the 3.3 per 100,000 in 2013.

That makes 4,821 the final number of fatal work injuries in 2014, up from the preliminary count of 4,679 released in September 2015 and the highest since 2008. From 2009 until 2014, the total number of worker deaths had been below 4,700 every year.

Other changes in the updates included the number of fatal injuries in the private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries, which rose to 183, the highest they had been since 2007. Fatal work injuries in oil and gas extraction industries increased to 144 in 2014, which reached a new high in that category.

Some of the other changes included in the updates:
-Fatalities from falls, slips, and trips rose by 25 cases, increasing the final total to 818 cases.
-Fatal work injuries as a result of roadway incidents were higher by 82 cases (8 percent) from the preliminary total, increasing the final number of deaths in 2014 to 1,157 cases – a 5 percent increase from the final count in 2013.
-There were 1,691 fatal work injuries in 2014 among workers age 55 – an increase of 70 from the preliminary count. The 2014 figure represents the largest number ever recorded for this category of workers and is 8 percent larger than the next highest total.

The revisions and additions to the 2014 CFOI counts are the result of the identification of new cases and the revision of existing cases based on source documents received after preliminary results were released.

Although the number of fatal work injuries involving Hispanic or Latino workers rose to 804 after the revisions, the final total for 2014 was lower than that of the prior year (817). The number of non-Hispanic Black or African-American workers who were fatally injured on the job in 2014 went up 4 percent from the preliminary count (457) to a revised count of 475. The total for non-Hispanic white workers rose by 5 percent after the updates to 3,332.

According to the BLS, this will be the last year for the separate release of preliminary data, which usually occurred in August or September. Beginning with the 2015 reference year, final data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) will be released in December – four months earlier than in previous years. The final (and only) release of 2015 CFOI data is scheduled for December 16, 2016. A similar schedule will be followed in subsequent years, the agency said.

Tagged in: worker fatality
Mr. Griffith has a received his bachelors degree in Environmental Health from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and president of Workplace Safety & Health Company. He has over 35 years of industrial hygiene, safety, loss control and consulting experience. Chemical monitoring, noise measurement, program development and management, risk assessment and computer management of health and safety data are areas of particular strength. Mr. Griffith is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) at the local and national level. He is also active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).


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