The following information is taken from the latest data published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Released in December 2019, the data is for injuries, illnesses and deaths that occurred in 2018.
Injuries and illnesses
According to the BLS, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses (an incidence rate of 2.8) reported by private-industry employers in 2018, which is unchanged from 2017.
The incidence rates for days away from work and the incidence rate for total recordable cases (TRC) also remained unchanged (the first time the TRC has not decreased since 2012). There were 900,380 injuries or illnesses that caused a worker to miss at least one day of work in 2018, which is also essentially unchanged from 2017.
At the same time, the incidence rate in construction for these types of injuries decreased from 3.1 in 2017 to 3.0 in 2018. It also decreased in utilities from 2.0 to 1.9.
According to the BLS, there were 5,250 fatal work injuries recorded in 2018, which is a 2% increase from the 5,147 recorded in 2017. The fatal work injury rate remained the same—at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent employees.
There were 160 workplace deaths from “exposure to electricity” in 2018, which was higher than it had been since 2011, when 174 such deaths were recorded. In 2012, there were 156 such deaths. The lowest total was 134 in 2015.
In construction, the number of fatal work injuries increased from 971 in 2017 to 1,008 in 2018. While the rate was stable at 9.5 both years, it is a full six points higher than the fatal work rate for private industry as a whole.
In utilities, the number of fatal work injuries increased from 28 in 2017 to 29 in 2018. The rate was stable at 2.6 both years and 0.9 points less than the 3.5 per 100,000 industry rate.