WASHINGTON, DC – There were 43 fewer workplace fatalities in 2017 than the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017 (CFOI) report released this week.
The number of fatal work injuries dropped to 5,147 in 2017 from 5,190 in 2016. By comparison, the lowest number of fatal work injuries within the last 15 years happened in 2009, when 4,551 were recorded.
“While today’s report shows a decline in the number of workplace fatalities, the loss of even one worker is too many,” said Loren Sweatt, acting assistant secretary for OSHA. “Through comprehensive enforcement and compliance assistance that includes educating job creators about their responsibilities under the law, and providing robust education opportunities to workers, OSHA is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the American workforce.”
In addition to the decline in overall fatalities, crane-related workplace fatalities, and fatal occupational injuries in the private manufacturing industry and wholesale trade industries reached their lowest points since the CFOI started in 2003.
Concurrently, unintentional drug overdoses due to nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol increased from 217 in 2016 to 272 in 2017 — the fifth consecutive year overdose deaths rose by at least 25 percent.
“The scourge of opioid addiction unfortunately continues to take its toll on workers across the country, demonstrating the importance of this Administration’s efforts to tackle this crisis,” Sweatt said.
Employers who need assistance in meeting their safety obligations can take advantage of OSHA’s no-cost and confidential On-Site Consultation Program. OSHA Training Institute Education Centers (OTIs) also provide training workers, employers, and other safety professionals across the nation.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.