National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2012 – Preliminary Results
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the preliminary total of 4,383 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States for 2012. This number is down from a revised count of 4,693 fatalities in 2011. The 2012 total represents the second lowest preliminary total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) was first conducted in 1992. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2012 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down from a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 in 2011.
Over the last five years, net increases to the preliminary count have ranged from 84 in 2011 to 211 in 2009. The revised 2011 figure represented a 2% increase over the preliminary total, while the 2009 figure was a 5% increase. Revised 2012 data from CFOI will be released in the late spring of 2014.
Key preliminary findings of the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:
- Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased 5% to 775 in 2012 from 738 in 2011. Yet the total hours worked in the private construction industry only increased 1% in 2012.
- Since 2011, CFOI has identified whether fatally-injured workers were working as contractors at the time of the fatal incident. In 2012, 708 decedents were identified as contractors, many of whom worked in construction and transportation occupations.
- Fatal work injuries declined among non-Hispanic white workers (down 10%) and Hispanic or Latino workers (down 5%) in 2012. Fatal work injuries were higher among non-Hispanic black or African-American workers and non-Hispanic Asian workers.
- Fatal work injuries involving workers under the age of 16 nearly doubled, rising from 10 in 2011 to 19 in 2012 — the highest total since 2005. Fatal work injuries in other age groups declined in 2012. Fatal work injuries among workers 55 years of age and older declined for the second straight year.
- Work-related suicides declined 10% from 2011 totals, but violence accounted for about 17% of all fatal work injuries in 2012.
- Fatal work injuries in the private mining sector rose in 2012, led by an increase in fatal injuries to workers in oil and gas extraction industries. Fatal work injuries in oil and gas extraction industries rose 23 percent to 138 in 2012, reaching a new high for the series.
Types of Incidents
Transportation incidents accounted for 41% of all fatal work injuries in 2012. Of the 1,789 transportation-related fatal injuries, about 58% (1,044 cases) were roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles. Non-roadway incidents, such as a tractor overturn in a farm field, accounted for another 13% of the transportation-related fatal injuries. About 16% of fatal transportation incidents in 2012 involved pedestrians who were struck by vehicles. Of the 283 fatal work injuries involving pedestrians struck by vehicles, 65 occurred in work zones. Keep in mind that transportation counts presented in the BLS report are expected to rise when updated 2012 data are released in Spring 2014, because key source documentation detailing specific transportation-related incidents has not yet been received.
Another 17% (767 cases) of work-related fatalities can be attributed to “Violence and other injuries by persons or animals”. This includes 463 homicides and 225 suicides. The work-related suicide total for 2012 declined 10% from the 2011 total and the homicide total was also slightly lower. Shootings were the most frequent manner of death in both homicides (81%) and suicides (48%). Of the 338 fatal work injuries involving female workers, 29% involved homicides.
Fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 668 workers (15% of all cases) in 2012, down slightly from 2011. Falls to a lower level accounted for 544 or about 81% of those fatalities. In 2012, the height of the fall was reported in 437 of the fatal falls to a lower level. Of those cases, about 25% occurred after a fall of 10 feet or less. Another 25% of the fatal fall cases occurred from falls of over 30 feet.
See the 2012 tables for more detailed information on fatal injuries by incident.
The number of fatal work injuries involving non-Hispanic white workers declined 10% in 2012, but rose by 13% for non-Hispanic Asian workers.
Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers dropped to 708 in 2012 from 749 in 2011, a decrease of 5%. Of the 708 fatal work injuries incurred by Hispanic or Latino workers, 454 (or 64%) involved foreign-born workers. Overall, there were 777 fatal work injuries involving foreign-born workers in 2012, of which the greatest share (299 or 38%) were born in Mexico.
Fatal work injuries increased for workers under the age of 16 years, rising to 19 in 2012 from 10 in 2011, reaching its highest level since 2005. Fourteen of these young decedents were employed as agricultural workers.
Fatal work injuries involving men fell from 4,308 in 2011 to 4,045 in 2012 — the lowest total since the inception of the fatality census in 1992.
See the 2012 tables for more detailed information on fatal injuries by worker characteristics.
In the private sector, there were 3,945 fatal work injuries in 2012, down 6% to a new series low. Both goods-producing industries and service-providing industries showed declines. Among goods-producing sectors, the number of fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased 5% in 2012. Total hours worked were higher by only 1% in 2012. The increase in 2012 was the first in construction fatalities since 2006. Construction fatalities are down 37 percent over that time. Construction accounted for the highest number of fatal work injuries of any industry sector in 2012.
Fatal work injuries in the private mining sector increased 14% to 177 in 2012 from 155 in 2011 — the highest level since 2007. The number of fatal work injury cases in oil and gas extraction industries rose to 138 in 2012 from 112 in 2011; the 2012 figure represents a series high. Fatal work injuries in coal mining increased slightly, and fatal work injuries in support activities for mining increased 9%.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting fatalities decreased 16% to 475 in 2012 from 566 in 2011. This follows a 9% drop in agriculture fatalities in 2011. Yet despite the declines in fatal work injuries in this sector over the last two years, agriculture recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry sector at 21.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012.
Among service-providing industries in the private sector, fatal work injuries in transportation and warehousing accounted for 677 fatal work injuries in 2012, a decrease of 10% over the revised 2011 count (749 fatalities). The number of fatal injuries in truck transportation, the largest subsector within transportation and warehousing in terms of employment, decreased 6% in 2012. As noted earlier, transportation counts presented in the BLS report are expected to rise when updated 2012 data are released in Spring 2014. Among other transportation subsectors, fatal work injuries in air transportation were slightly higher, but fatalities in water and rail transportation were lower in 2012.
Fatal occupational injuries among government workers decreased 13% from 2011 to 438 fatal work injuries, the lowest fatal work injury total since the start of the fatality census. However, this reduction was only realized in state and local government and not the federal government. Both state government and local government showed decline of 19% and 16%, respectively. Fatal injuries among federal government workers remained about the same.
See the 2012 tables for more detailed information on fatal injuries by industry.
For more detailed information and access to all related charts and tables, please go to the BLS Press Release.