workers comp falling employee

2014 Fatal Work Injury Report

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A preliminary total of 4,679 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2014, an increase of 2 percent over the revised count of 4,585 fatal work injuries in 2013, according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of
fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2014 was 3.3 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers; the revised rate for 2013 was also 3.3.

Revised 2014 data from CFOI will be released in the late spring of 2016. Over the last five years, net increases to the preliminary count have averaged 173 cases, ranging from a low of 84 in 2011 (up 2 percent) to a high of 245 in 2012 (up 6 percent).

workers-compensation-group1Fatal Injuries by Worker Characteristics

Fatal injuries to self-employed workers rose 10 percent in 2014 to 1,047, up from 950 in 2013. Although higher than in 2013, the 2014 preliminary total for self-employed workers is about the same as the 10-year average for the series. Fatal injuries among wage and salary workers remained at about the same level as in 2013.

Fatal work injuries involving workers age 45 to 54 years, 55 to 64 years, and 65 years of age and over all increased in 2014 compared to 2013 totals. The number of workers 55 years and over who were fatally injured in 2014 increased 9 percent to 1,621, the highest annual total since the inception of the fatality census in 1992. Workers of a wide variety of ages are included in the 2014 CFOI counts – 8 workers under the age of 16 are included as well as 8 workers age 90 and over.

Fatal injuries among women rose 13 percent in 2014 to 359 from 319 in 2013. Fatal work injuries among men in 2014 were slightly higher than the previous year. Consistent with previous years, men accounted for 92 percent of all fatal occupational injuries.

Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers fell 3 percent to 789 in 2014, compared to 817 in 2013. Fatal work injuries were higher among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black or African-American, and non-Hispanic Asian workers.

Overall, there were 827 fatal work injuries involving foreign-born workers in 2014. These 827 foreign-born workers came from over 80 different countries, of which the greatest share (334 or 40 percent) was born in Mexico.

Of the 789 fatal work injuries incurred by Hispanic or Latino workers, 503 (64 percent) involved foreign-born workers. Of the 134 fatal work injuries incurred by non-Hispanic Asian workers, 116 (87 percent) involved foreign-born workers.

Key preliminary findings of the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:
  • The number of fatal work injuries in private goods-producing industries in 2014 was 9 percent higher than the revised 2013 count but slightly lower in private service-providing industries. Fatal injuries were higher in mining (up 17 percent), agriculture (up 14 percent), manufacturing (up 9 percent),and construction (up 6 percent). Fatal work injuries for government workers were lower (down 12 percent).
  • Falls, slips, and trips increased 10 percent to 793 in 2014 from 724 in 2013. This was driven largely by an increase in falls to a lower level to 647 in 2014 from 595 in 2013.
  • Fatal work injuries involving workers 55 years of age and over rose 9 percent to 1,621 in 2014 up from 1,490 in 2013. The preliminary 2014 count for workers 55 and over is the highest total ever reported by CFOI.
  • After a sharp decline in 2013, fatal work injuries among self-employed workers increased 10 percent in 2014 from 950 in 2013 to 1,047 in 2014.
  • Women incurred 13 percent more fatal work injuries in 2014 than in 2013. Even with this increase, women accounted for only 8 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in 2014.
  • Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers were lower in 2014, while fatal injuries among non-Hispanic white, black or African-American, and Asian workers were all higher.
  • In 2014, 797 decedents were identified as contracted workers, 6 percent higher than the 749 fatally-injured contracted workers reported in 2013. Workers who were contracted at the time of their fatal injury accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injury cases in 2014.
  • The number of fatal work injuries among police officers and police supervisors was higher in 2014, rising from 88 in 2013 to 103 in 2014, an increase of 17 percent.

 

Type of Incident In 2014, fatal work injuries due to transportation incidents were slightly higher—1,891, up from 1,865 in 2013.

Overall, transportation incidents accounted for 40 percent of fatal workplace injuries in 2014. Within the transportation event category, roadway incidents constituted 57 percent of the fatal work injury total in 2014. The second largest number of transportation fatalities in 2014 involved pedestrian vehicular incidents (17 percent).

Fatalities resulting from pedestrian vehicular incidents were up 6 percent from last year’s revised count (313 in 2014 up from 294 in 2013). Rail vehicle incidents also increased in 2014, rising 34 percent to 55 fatal injuries from 41 in 2013.

(Note that roadway incident counts presented in this release are expected to rise when updated 2014 data are released in the late spring of 2016 because key source documentation detailing specific transportation-related incidents has not yet been received.)

Fatal work injuries due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals were lower in 2014, with 749 deaths in 2014 compared to 773 in 2013.

The number of workplace homicides was about the same as the total in 2013, but workplace suicides decreased slightly in 2014, from 282 to 271. Among the workplace homicides in which women were the victims, the greatest share of assailants were relatives or domestic partners (32 percent of those homicides). In workplace homicides involving men, robbers were the most common type of assailant (33 percent).

Fatal falls, slips, and trips were up 10 percent in 2014 from the previous year. Falls to lower level were up 9 percent to 647 from 595 in 2013, and falls on the same level increased 17 percent.

In 532 of the 647 fatal falls to lower level, the height of the fall was known. Of those cases in which the height of fall was known, four-fifths involved falls of 30 feet or less (427) while about two-thirds (340) involved falls of 20 feet or less.

Work-related injury deaths due to contact with objects and equipment were down slightly from the revised 2013 number (721 to 708). The largest proportion of fatal injuries in this category (34 percent) occurred when workers were struck by falling objects or equipment. The next largest share (28 percent) involved injuries in which decedents were struck by powered vehicles in nontransport situations (e.g., struck by a rolling vehicle or by a vehicle that had tipped over while on jacks).

Fatal work injuries due to fires decreased 35 percent from 82 in 2013 to 53 in 2014. Fatal injuries resulting from explosions, however, increased 25 percent to 84 cases, led by an increase in explosions of pressure vessels, piping, or tires.

A total of 372 workers were killed in 163 multiple fatality incidents (events where more than one worker was killed).

Fatal Injuries by Occupation

Transportation and material moving occupations accounted for the largest share (28%) of fatal occupational injuries of any occupation group. Fatal work injuries in this group rose 3 percent to 1,289 in 2014, the highest total since 2008. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers (see chart 2) accounted for nearly 2 out of every 3 fatal injuries in this group (835 of the 1,289 fatal injuries in 2014). In this group, drivers/sales
workers increased 74 percent to 54 in 2014, and heavy and tractor-trailer drivers had their highest total since 2008 (725 fatalities in 2014).

Fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations increased 5 percent (40 cases) in 2014 to 885. This is the highest total for this occupation group since 2008. The fatal injury rate for workers in construction and extraction occupations was 11.8 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2014 and 12.2 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2013.

Fatal injuries among construction trades workers increased 3 percent in 2014 to 611 fatalities, the highest count since 2009. Fatal work injuries to construction laborers, the occupation within construction trades workers with the highest number of fatalities, decreased by 14 cases in 2014 to 206. Conversely, the number of fatally injured electricians increased by 14 cases in 2014 to 78.

The number of fatal work injuries among protective service occupations decreased 15 percent in 2014 to 211 fatalities, a series low for this occupation group. This was led by a drop in fatalities among firefighters and first-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers, down 51 percent to 35 in 2014. Fatal injuries to police officers and first-line supervisors of police and detectives, however, increased 17 percent to 103 in 2014.

Fatalities among farming, fishing, and forestry occupations rose 9 percent to 253 in 2014. The increase was led by fatalities involving agricultural workers (up 12 percent to 143) and fatalities involving logging workers (up 31 percent to 77).

Fatal injuries to resident military personnel declined to 55 from 71 in 2013.

Wc-headerFatal Injuries by Industry

In the private sector, a total of 4,251 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2014, 4 percent higher than the revised total of 4,101 in 2013.

Goods-producing industries were up 9 percent in 2014. Totals were higher for private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (up 17 percent); agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (up 14 percent); manufacturing (up 9 percent); and construction (up 6 percent).

Construction fatalities rose to 874 in 2014 from 828 in 2013 (see chart 3). The number of fatal work injuries in construction in 2014 was the highest reported total since 2008.

The fatal injury rate for workers in the private construction industry was 9.5 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2014 and 9.7 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2013. Heavy and civil engineering construction recorded a series low of 138 fatal injuries in 2014, down from 165 in 2013.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting fatalities were 14 percent higher in 2014 at 568 compared to 500 in 2013.

Fatal injuries in forestry and logging rose to 92 in 2014 from 81 in 2013 and the highest total since 2008. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry sector at 24.9 fatal work injuries per 100,000 FTE workers in 2014.

Fatal work injuries in the private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector were 17 percent higher in 2014, rising to 181 from 155 in 2013, and the fatal injury rate also increased to 14.1 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2014 from 12.4 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2013.

While coal mining recorded smaller numbers of fatal work injuries in 2014, the number of fatal work injury cases in oil and gas extraction industries were 27 percent higher in 2014, rising to 142 in 2014 from 112 in 2013. Oil and gas extraction industries include oil and gas extraction (North American Industry Classification System [NAICS] 21111), drilling oil and gas wells (NAICS 213111), and support activities for oil and gas operations (NAICS 213112).

Service-providing industries in the private sector decreased slightly from 2013. Fatal work injuries in transportation and warehousing accounted for 735 fatal work injuries in 2014, almost unchanged from the revised 2013 count of 733 fatalities. Financial activities rose 31 percent, while wholesale trade fell 11 percent.

Fatal occupational injuries among government workers fell 12 percent to a series low of 428 fatal work injuries in 2014, down from 484 in 2013. Federal government work fatalities, which fell 29 percent to 92 in 2014 from 129 in 2013, accounted for most of the decline.

Fatal Injuries by Contracted Workers

In 2014, the number of fatal occupational injuries incurred by contracted workers was 797, or 17 percent of all fatal injuries, compared to 749 (16 percent) reported in 2013. Falls to a lower level accounted for 33 percent of contracted worker deaths while struck by object or equipment (17 percent), pedestrian vehicular incidents (12 percent), and exposure to electricity (9 percent) incidents were also frequent events among contracted workers.

The four types of incidents above  each constituted a greater share of fatalities among contracted workers than they did for all workers.

Fatally-injured contracted workers were most often contracted by a firm in the private construction industry sector (164 or 21 percent of all contracted workers). They were also frequently contracted by a government entity (148 or 19 percent) and by firms in the private financial activities (81 or 10 percent); private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (72 or 9 percent); and private manufacturing (70 or 9 percent) industry sectors.

Over half of all contracted workers (415 workers) were working in construction and extraction occupations when fatally injured. Decedents in this occupation group were most often employed as construction laborers (108); electricians (48); first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (44); roofers (42); and painters, construction and maintenance (25).

Among contracted workers who were employed outside the construction and extraction occupation group, the largest number of fatal occupational injuries was incurred by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (76 workers); landscaping and groundskeeping workers (21); security guards (17); tree trimmers and pruners (16); heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers (15); and excavating and loading machine and dragline operators (13).

For more detailed state results, contact the individual state agency responsible for the collection of CFOI data in that state. Although data for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam are not included in the national totals for this release, results for these jurisdictions are available.

Detailed data are available on fatal work injuries for more than 50 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), and counts of fatal work injuries are available for over 300 MSAs. Eleven MSAs reported 50 or more fatal occupational injuries in 2014.

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