Workplace fatalities rise

Workplace fatalities rise, while rate remains flat.
By Bob Vavra October 2, 2015

Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released in September show the rate of fatal work injuries in 2014 was 3.3 per 100,000 full-time workers, the same as the final rate for 2013. While the preliminary total of 4,679 fatal work injuries was an increase of 2% over the revised count of 4,585 in 2013, there was also an increase in hours worked in 2014.

"Far too many people are still killed on the job—13 workers every day taken from their families tragically and unnecessarily," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement. "These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires."

Perez also cited slight improvements in some areas, and declines in others, as evidence that the work OSHA and other regulatory agendas do still is needed. "Preliminary results tell us 789 Hispanic workers died on the job in 2014, compared with 817 in 2013," Perez stated. "While we were gratified by that drop, the number is still unacceptably high, and it is clear that there is still much more hard work to do.

"BLS data shows fatalities rising in the construction sector (along with an overall increase in construction employment). Dangerous workplaces also are taking the lives of a growing number of people in oil and gas extraction," he added. "That is why OSHA continues extensive outreach and strong enforcement campaigns in these industries."