The number of workers killed or injured on the job in the United States increased slightly in 2018, according to new statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Fatalities involving transportation accounted for 40% of all occupational deaths, while deaths from slips, trips and falls decreased 11% after reaching a 26-year high in 2017.

Statistics show disturbing increases in fatalities

The BLS says 5,250 workers died in 2018, a 2% increase over the year before. Deaths of law enforcement officers rose 14%, while fatalities due to violent acts rose 3%, mainly due to an increase in work-related suicides. In addition, the report identified alarming increases for several demographic groups:

  • African American worker deaths increased by 16% to 615, the highest number since 1999
  • 961 Hispanic or Latino workers died on the job, a 6% increase, and 67% of those killed were born outside the U.S.
  • While workplace fatalities declined for workers over age 65, their fatal injury rate is more than double the average worker rate

Workplace injury data reveals a slight increase

According to BLS statistics, 2.8 million workers suffered nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses in 2018, about 23,000 more than in 2017. Other key takeaways include:

  • Retail trade accounted for 14% of all private industry illnesses and injuries and saw its first injury rate increase since statistics started being tracked in 2003
  • 900,380 illnesses or injuries forced workers to miss at least one day of work
  • Those incidents forced 333,830 workers to visit an emergency room or to be admitted to a hospital for treatment

Employers must provide a safe place to work

The most common workplace injuries are cuts and punctures, bruises, sprains and strains, and inflammation and fractures, while the most severe involve amputations, electrocutions, dislocations and massive trauma, such as broken bones or head injuries.

Employers are required to provide a safe workplace and are responsible for eliminating hazards and properly training employees to operate dangerous equipment. If you are injured, a workers’ compensation attorney here in Pennsylvania can help you receive benefits to which you are entitled.