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Corrected: an earlier version of this story included outdated information.
Workplace fatalities increased slightly in 2018, but the fatal occupational injury rate held steady at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ national census of fatal occupational injuries report released Tuesday.
In 2018, the latest year for which figures are available, 5,250 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S., up slightly from the 5,147 reported in 2017.
Fatalities from transportation remained the most frequent fatal occupational injury, accounting for 40% of occupational deaths. Fatalities from fall decreased 11% in 2018 after reaching a 26-year high in 2017.
Workplace violence incidents resulting in deaths increased by 3%, largely due to a 12% increase in work-related suicides, according to the report. Unintentional overdoses at the workplace, which had declined 25% from 2016 to 2017, increased by 12%, with a total of 305 deaths from the nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol. Contact with objects and equipment fatalities declined 13% to 786 in 2018.
By occupation, workers in the transportation and material moving industry accounted for the most worker deaths in 2018; truck drivers and driver/sales workers had the highest number of fatalities at 831.
The report also noted that independent workers comprised 12% of all fatal injuries in 2018, with 621 fatally injured, up from 613 in 2017. Occupations with the most fatal work injuries to independent workers in 2018 were heavy and tractor trailer-truck drivers, followed by construction supervisors and construction laborers.
Alaska and Wyoming reported the highest rate of injury for 201, at 9.9% and 11.5% of 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, respectively. Delaware and Rhode Island had the lowest injury rates in 2018, reporting injury rates of 1.6% of 100,000 full-time equivalent workers and 1.8%, respectively.