Observed every year on April 28, Workers Memorial Day honors workers who have died on the job or who experienced hazardous exposures at work. The day is also a chance to recommit to safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.
April 28 is also the date the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – created by Congress to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women – was officially formed in 1971.
The 2013 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that 4,405 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2013, lower than the revised count of 4,628 fatal work injuries in 2012. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2013 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, compared to a final rate of 3.4 per 100,000 in 2012.
The 2013 CFOI found 753 workers were killed as a result of violence, including 397 homicides and 270 suicides. The work-related suicide total for 2013 was 8 percent higher than the 2012 total. The homicide total was lower in 2013, falling 16 percent to 397 from 475 in 2012. Shootings were the most frequent manner of death in homicides (80 percent) and suicides (47 percent). Of the 302 fatal work injuries involving female workers, 22 percent involved homicides, compared to 8 percent for men.
The CFOI also revealed the occupations for workers with the highest number of fatal work injuries in 2013:
- Driver/sales workers and truck drivers (748)
- Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers (220)
- Construction laborers (215)
- Roofers (69)
- Aircraft pilots and flight engineers (63)
- Logging workers (59)
Logging workers also had the highest fatal work injury rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers with 91.3, followed by fishers and related fishing workers with 75.0. Other preliminary findings from the 2013 CFOI include:
- Fatal work injuries in private industry in 2013 were 6 percent below the 2012 figure. The preliminary 2013 count of 3,929 fatal injuries in private industry represents the lowest annual total since the census was first conducted in 1992.
- Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers were higher in 2013, rising 7 percent. The 797 Hispanic or Latino worker deaths in 2013 constituted the highest total since 2008.
- In 2013, 734 fatally-injured workers were identified as contractors, above the 715 reported in 2012. Workers who were working as contractors at the time of their fatal injury accounted for 17 percent of all cases in 2013.
- Fatal work injuries involving workers under 16 years of age were substantially lower, falling from 19 in 2012 to 5 in 2013—the lowest total ever reported by the census. Fatal work injuries in most other age groups were also lower in 2013, although fatal work injuries among workers 25 to 34 years of age were higher.
- Fatal work injuries among self-employed workers were lower by 16 percent from 1,057 in 2012 to 892 in 2013. The preliminary 2013 total represents the lowest annual total since the series began in 1992.
Over the last five years, net increases to the preliminary count for the CFOI have averaged 165 cases, ranging from a low of 84 in 2011 to a high of 245 in 2012. The revised 2011 figure was 2 percent higher than the preliminary total, while the revised 2012 figure was 6 percent higher. Final 2013 data from CFOI will be released in the late spring of 2015. More information about the 2013 CFOI is at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf.
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) is part of the BLS Occupational Safety and Health Statistics (OSHS) program and compiles a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during the calendar year. The CFOI program uses diverse state, federal, and independent data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries. For 2013, over 19,100 unique source documents were reviewed in the data collection process. To learn more, visit http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch9.pdf.
For more information about events on Workers Memorial Day 2015, visit the OSHA website at https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker_memorial_2015.html.