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The number of workplace fatalities recorded in 2015 was the highest in seven years, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A total of 4,836 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2015, up slightly from the 4,821 reported in 2014, and the highest figure since the 5,214 reported in 2008, the bureau’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries revealed.
The report also included demographic data:
• Hispanic or Latino workers incurred 903 fatal injuries in 2015, the most since 937 fatalities in 2007.
• Workers age 65 years and older incurred 650 fatal injuries, the second-largest number for the group since the national census began in 1992, but down from the 2014 figure of 684.
• Roadway incident fatalities were up 9% from 2014 totals, accounting for over one-quarter of the fatal occupational injuries in 2015.
• Workplace suicides decreased 18% from 2014, while homicides were up 2%.
• Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers recorded 745 fatal injuries, the most of any occupation.
• The 937 fatal work injuries in the private construction industry in 2015 was the highest since 975 cases in 2008.
• Fatal injuries in the private oil and gas extraction industries were 38% lower in 2015 than 2014.
“These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement. “The fact is, we know how to prevent these deaths. The U.S. Department of Labor is — and will always be — committed to working with employers, workers, community organizations, unions and others to improve safety and health in our nation’s workplaces.”
California fatality report
California’s Department of Industrial Relations also released its own report on Friday on workplace fatalities. It revealed that 388 Californians died on the job in 2015, up from 344 in 2014.
The state also experienced a rise in multifatality incidents, with 13 separate incidents accounting for a total of 48 of those workplace deaths. These events included the San Bernardino terrorist attack, four separate farm vehicle collisions, four different helicopter or small airplane crashes, including two separate military helicopter incidents, and three multi-victim workplace homicides. In 2014 there were six separate multifatality incidents resulting in 17 fatalities.
A Kentucky company is facing $320,400 in proposed fines from federal workplace safety regulators after an employee fell 22 feet to his death.