Maybe you feel safe from injury or harm in your current or perspective career. You’ve heard about injuries and incidents, but you’re not sure on how they relate to your industry, or even how prevalent they really are. Perhaps you’ve never even considered the potential for injury or harm when reflecting on your chosen career path. Now is a good time to change the way you think.
Information has been tracked, analysed and publicised by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics that breaks down information from 2002-2012 (current data is not yet available). As an employee or someone embarking on a career search, these statistics might relate to you. Therefore this might be worth your attention.
Decline in Injuries
While 2012, the latest year on file, saw a decline in fatal workplace injuries compared to past years, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, practicing caution and obeying all applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines and laws is still critical to staying safe on the job.
While more information with a thorough breakdown is available through a BLS report, a few figures stand out:
- 2012 saw a 7% decrease in fatal workplace injuries compared to 2011
- With 4,383 fatal workplace injuries in 2012, the number has decreased by 30% over the past two decades, since the 6,217 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in 1992
- There were 3.2 fatal work injuries per 1,000 full time U.S. workers in 2012, down from 3.5 per 1,000 in 2011
Fatal Injuries by Event
Not all accidents are created equally. Especially as they relate to fatal workplace injuries in the United States. The following is the breakdown of injuries by event for 2012:
- Transportation injuries were the cause of 41% of fatal workplace injuries with roadway incidents accounting for nearly one in four fatal injuries regardless of industry
- Violence and injuries by other persons or animals accounted for 17%
- Contact with objects and equipment caused 16% of fatal workplace injuries in 2012
- Falls, slips and trips were responsible for 15% of fatal workplace injuries
- Exposure to harmful substances contributed to 7% of the 2012 fatal workplace injury total
- Fires and explosions caused 3% of fatal workplace injuries in 2012
Fatal Workplace Injuries by Industry
Echoing accidents, not all industries are created equally when it comes to workplace injuries. This is demonstrated by another report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Construction topped other industries with 775 fatal workplace injuries out of 5,711,000 employees in 2012. This can be seen clearly in this construction safety infographic. However, coming in at a close second was the transportation and warehousing industry with 677 fatal workplace injuries out of 4,415,000 employees – a higher rate per employee than construction, but a lower number overall. The agricultural and manufacturing industries came in third and fourth with 475 and 314 fatal workplace injuries respectively.
Other Facts and Figures
Other facts and figures of interest relating to fatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2012 are as follows:
- There was a higher rate of fatal workplace injuries involving women resulting from homicides on the job compared to men
- In all other categories, the risk for men was higher than women
- Fatal work injuries for workers 45 years of age and older was slightly higher than the U.S. average in 2012
- For employees 65 years and older it was three times higher than the rest of the population
- 32 states had fewer fatal workplace injuries in 2012 than in 2011, 16 had more and 2 showed no change
While these statistics illustrate many points, the overarching theme is this: certain industries and demographics are linked with higher on-the-job risks. There is good news, however, rates have fallen considerably in both the last two decades. Safety seems to be on the rise.