The Deadliest Jobs and Most Common Factors of Occupational Fatalities

The National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that on average, one person died from a work-related injury every 99 minutes. The Census reported 5,333 fatal workplace injuries in 2019. This is a 2% increase from the year prior, with occupational fatalities totaling at 5,250. At 3.5 fatalities for every 100,000 workers, this is the highest workplace fatality rate since 2007.

The jump was particularly high for a couple of demographics. The first is workers aged 55 and over, who experienced an 8% increase from 1,863 deaths in 2018 to 2,005 in 2019. The second group is Hispanic or Latino workers, with Hispanic/Latino occupational fatalities up 13% at 1,088, the highest it’s been since 1992.
Most Common Causes of Workplace Fatalities

The most common cause of fatal work-related injuries were transportation incidents. Fatal transportation incidents saw a 2% increase from 2018 to 2019; with 2,122 occupational fatalities, transportation accidents accounted for roughly one in five on-the-job fatalities. Other major on-the-job events that led to occupational fatalities include slips, trips, and falls, violence, contact with objects and equipment, exposure to harmful substances, and fires and explosions.

Slips, trips, and falls increased by 11%, with 880 deaths, while exposure to harmful substances or environments led to the deaths of 642 workers in 2019, the highest since at least 2011. Fires and explosions were responsible for 99 deaths, a decrease of 14%.
Most Common Industries and Roles

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a fifth of fatally injured workers were people employed as drivers. In addition, over 1,060 construction workers died on the job, a 12-year high. The service industry saw 762 deaths, followed by installation, maintenance and repair with 438, and then management, business, and financial operations with 409.

As for specific jobs, the BLS found fishing and hunting jobs to be the most fatal, with 145 deaths for every 100,000 workers. Logging had 68.9 deaths per every 100,000 workers, while aircraft pilots and flight engineers had 61.8 per 100,000. Roofers and Construction rounded out the top five, with 54 and 40 occupational fatalities per 100,000 workers, respectively.
Most Deaths per State

Since 2015, Texas has had the highest workplace fatality rate nationwide, and this year was no exception. The Occupational death rate in Texas has climbed from 527 in 2015 to 608 in 2019. The next highest was California, with 451 deaths in 2019, followed by Florida with 306 occupational fatalities, New York with 273, and Georgia with 207. The state with the fewest occupational fatalities was Rhode Island, with 10.
OSHA’s Role, and the Most Common OSHA Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is an organization that is supposed to work to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for U.S. workers. OSHA is charged with setting and enforcing safety standards around the nation, as well as providing training, education, assistance, and outreach to employers and employees in hopes of protecting workers from fatal safety hazards. Since its inception in 1970, OSHA and partnering organizations have vastly improved workplace safety, lowering workplace fatalities by approximately 63%.

OSHA has made and enforces safety and health standards for fall protection, machine guarding, and other work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Unfortunately, these standards are sometimes violated, resulting in a workplace injury or fatality. OSHA reported that the most frequently cited OSHA Standards Violations in 2019 was a lack of adequate fall protection. Other commonly found violations include issues with hazard communications, scaffolding, respiratory protection, ladders and fall protection, powered industrial trucks, machine guarding, and eye and face protection.

If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, contact our Workplace Injury Attorneys today. We have been successfully representing injured people and their families for over 25 years, and we can fight for you too. Call us at 713-224-9000, or contact us online to see what we can do to help.