The U.S. Department of Labor released its occupational injuries summaries in mid-December 2016. Key findings (as reported by the CFOI) are listed below. As you read through these statistics, think about how they apply to you. Do you or someone you work with fall into one of the groups included in the summary? Did you or someone you work with experience an injury or near miss in the last year or two?
- Annual total of 4,836 fatal workplace injuries in 2015 was the highest since 5,214 fatal injuries in 2008.
- The overall rate of fatal work injury for workers in 2015, at 3.38 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, was lower than the 2014 rate of 3.43
- Hispanic or Latino workers incurred 903 fatal injuries in 2015—the most since 937 fatalities in 2007.
- Workers age 65 years and older incurred 650 fatal injuries, the second-largest number for the group since the national census began in 1992, but decreased from the 2014 figure of 684.
- Roadway incident fatalities were up 9 percent from 2014 totals, accounting for over one-quarter of the fatal occupational injuries in 2015.
- Workplace suicides decreased 18 percent in 2015; homicides were up 2 percent from 2014 totals.
- Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers recorded 745 fatal injuries, the most of any occupation.· The 937 fatal work injuries in the private construction industry in 2015 represented the highest total since 975 cases in 2008.
- Fatal injuries in the private oil and gas extraction industries were 38 percent lower in 2015 than 2014.
- Seventeen percent of decedents were contracted by and performing work for another business or government entity in 2015 rather than for their direct employer at the time of the incident.
- Non-Hispanic Black or African-American workers incurred 495 fatal work injuries in 2015, the most since 2008.· Workers age 45 years and older accounted for 58 percent of workplace fatalities in 2015 but they accounted for only 45 percent of the total hours worked.
Behind the statistics lie the real stories of the people, workplaces, families and communities impacted by these fatalities. The best way to honor those who lost their lives in work related incidents is to do what you can to prevent future deaths. Influence the culture at your company. Know your company’s safety policies. Make suggestions to improve those policies and practices. Put safety on the daily by reminding those around you of the safe way to do the work. Be the voice of those lost to work place incidents.