Transportation Accidents Most Common Work Fatality

Photo of car crash by CGP Grey via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo of car crash by CGP Grey via Wikimedia Commons.

Fatal work injuries reached 5,190 in 2016, representing a 7% increase from the previous year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2016 saw the third consecutive annual jump in fatal work injuries. The year also marked the first time in nearly a decade that the number of work-related deaths surpassed 5,000.

Transportation accidents remained the most common cause of work deaths, accounting for 40% of the fatalities. Such incidents were responsible for 2,083 fatalities in 2016, according to the bureau.

Violence committed by people or animals increased 23% to become the second-leading cause of work-related deaths. Such violence accounted for 866 deaths. Workplace homicides increased by 83 to reach 500. Workplace suicides increased by 62 to reach 291.

On-the-job overdoses from non-medical use of drugs or alcohol jumped from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016 — a 32-% increase. Since 2012, overdose fatalities have risen by at least 25% annually, statistics show.

Fall, slip and trip deaths increased 6%, totaling 849 deaths.

In 2016, fatal overdoses from the non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased 32 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Photo by 51fifty via Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.
In 2016, fatal overdoses from the non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased 32 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Photo by 51fifty via Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.

In response to the new data, the National Safety Council called on employers to ensure they have policies and training in place to address the major causes of work-related fatalities — including the ongoing opioid crisis and worker fatigue.

“Leadership should set the tone from the top and engage all workers in safety, continually looking to identify and mitigate workplace safety hazards and measuring safety performance using leading indicators to ensure continuous improvement,” NSC said in a released statement.

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