Unintentional injuries in the workplace—such as falls, motor vehicle crashes and exposures to chemicals or other harmful substances—have reached their highest level since 2008, according to National Safety Council analysis of final federal data.
In 2014, 4,132 workers died of unintentional injuries—an increase of 6% over 2013. This is the first sizable increase in unintentional, preventable workplace deaths in 20 years. In that time, 92,533 workers have been killed.
Certain industries experienced sharper rises in unintentional injuries than others, including the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry (18%), the mining industry (18%), the manufacturing industry (11%), and the construction industry (8%).
Older workers also saw a record-high number of fatalities—both intentional and unintentional. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,691 fatalities among workers 55 and older—a 4% increase over 2013.
To help ensure safer workplaces, the National Safety Council recommends:
- Joining the Journey to Safety Excellence, a roadmap for employers to build a workplace that keeps workers safe
- Protecting temporary and contract workers, who have significantly higher rates of incidents and deaths than permanent, non-contractual employees
- Improving record keeping to ensure better data collection of occupational injuries and illnesses