An estimated 4,609 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2011, down from a final count of 4,690 fatal work injuries in 2010, according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2011 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, as compared to a final rate of 3.6 per 100,000 for 2010. Over the last three years, increases in the published counts based on additional information have averaged 166 fatalities per year or about 3% of the revised total. Final 2011 data from the CFOI program will be released in Spring 2013.
Key preliminary findings of the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries: Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector declined to 721 in 2011 from 774 in 2010, a decline of 7% and the fifth consecutive year of lower fatality counts. Fatal construction injuries are down nearly 42% since 2006. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals accounted for 780 fatalities, or about 17% of the fatal injuries in the workplace in 2011. Included in this count are 458 homicides and 242 suicides.
Work-related fatalities in the private mining industry (which includes oil and gas extraction) were down 10% in 2011 after an increase of 74% in 2010. Coal mining fatalities fell to 17 in 2011 from 43 in 2010. Fatal work injuries in private truck transportation rose 14% in 2011-the second consecutive year that counts have risen in this sector after reaching a series low in 2009. Fatal work injuries increased among non-Hispanic black or African-American workers and among Hispanic or Latino workers in 2011, but declined among non-Hispanic white workers (down 3%).
Fatal work injuries involving workers 55 years of age and older as well as workers under the age of 18 were both lower in 2011, but fatal work injuries among workers in the 20 to 24 age group were up nearly 18%. Transportation incidents accounted for more than two out of every five fatal work injuries in 2011. Of the 1,898 transportation-related incidents, about 57% (1,075 cases) were roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles. Non-roadway incidents, such as a tractor overturn in a farm field, accounted for another 11% of the transportation-related fatal injuries. About 16% of fatal transportation incidents in 2011 involved pedestrians who were struck by vehicles. Of the 312 fatal work injuries involving pedestrians struck by vehicles, 61 occurred in work zones.
Fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 666 workers in 2011, which was about 14% of all fatal work injuries. Falls to lower level accounted for 541 of those fatalities. Of those 451 cases, about one in four (115) occurred after a fall of ten feet or less. Another fourth (118) occurred from a fall of over 30 feet. A total of 472 workers were fatally injured after being struck by objects or equipment, including 219 workers who were struck by falling objects or equipment and 192 who were struck by powered vehicles or mobile equipment not in normal operation. There were 152 multiple-fatality incidents in 2011 (incidents in which more than one worker was killed) in which 354 workers died.
Source: Claims Journal
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