Fatal Work Injuries At 12-year High in 2019

Posted on 1/11/2021 by Lauren Scott

Last month, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) for 2019. The report documents the fatal injuries that occurred in 2019 while Americans were on the job. Keep in mind that this report documents fatalities that occurred primarily before the coronavirus pandemic.

Key Findings

  • There were 5,333 fatal work injuries recorded in 2019, a two-percent increase over the previous year and the most since 2007.
  • Every 99 minutes, a worker died from a work-related injury in 2019.
  • Fatalities among workers age 55 and older increased eight percent over the previous year to 2,005, the largest number ever recorded for this age group.
  • The private construction industry saw an increase in fatalities of 5 percent to 1,061.
  • Nearly one out of every 5 workers who suffered a fatality was employed as a driver/sales worker or truck driver.

Environmental Exposures

  • Fatal work injuries from slips, trips, and falls increased 11 percent in 2019 to 880.
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to the deaths of 642 workers in 2019, the highest figure since this reporting category was intiated in 2011.
  • There were 99 worker fatalities due to fires and/or explosions in 2019, a 14 percent decrease over the previous year.


CFOI is an annual count of all fatal work-related injuries in the US. CFOI is conducted as part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupational Safety and Health Statistics program. CFOI uses a comprehensive approach to identify, verify, and describe fatal occupational injuries by relying on State, Federal, and independent sources. For the 2019 data, over 25,100 unique source documents were reviewed as part of the data collection process.

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Tags: fatality, osha, safety, statistics, worker, worker fatalities, workplace, workplace safety

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