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There were 4,764 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2020, a 10.7% decrease from 5,333 in 2019 and the lowest annual number since 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday in its annual report on workplace deaths.
The fatal work injury rate was 3.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from 3.5 per 100,000 FTE in 2019, according to the data are from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
On cause of fatality, transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event with 1,778 fatal injuries, accounting for 37.3% of all work-related fatalities yet such incidents fell 16.2% from 2,122 in 2019. Fatalities due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals decreased from 841 fatalities in 2019 to 705 fatalities in 2020, a 16.2% drop. The largest subcategory, intentional injuries by person, decreased 14.5%to 651 in 2020. Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to 672 worker fatalities in 2020, the highest figure since the series began in 2011. Within this category, unintentional overdose from nonmedical use of drugs accounted for 57.7% of fatalities (388 deaths), up from 48.8% in 2019.
On demographics, the share of Latino workers fatally injured on the job continued to grow, increasing to 22.5% (1,072 fatalities) from 20.4% (1,088 fatalities) in 2019. Black workers had a 14.7% decrease in occupational fatalities in 2020, falling from 634 in 2019 to 541 in 2020.
Women made up 8.1% of all fatalities but represented 16.3% of workplace homicides in 2020. Also in 2020, workers between the ages of 45 and 54 suffered 954 workplace fatalities, the lowest count for this age group since 1992.
Meanwhile, workplace suicides decreased 15.6% from 307 in 2019 to 259 in 2020, representing the lowest count for occupational suicides since 2015.
Nonfatal occupational illnesses and injuries held steady in 2018, marking the first time since 2009 that they did not decline, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.