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5,190 fatal work injuries in the United States during 2016

December 22, 2017

There were a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2016, a 7-percent increase from the 4,836 fatal injuries reported in 2015. This is the third consecutive increase in annual workplace fatalities and the first time more than 5,000 fatalities have been recorded since 2008.

Number of fatal work injuries by employee status, 2003–16
Year Wage and salary Self-employed


4,405 1,170


4,587 1,177


4,592 1,142


4,808 1,032


4,613 1,044


4,183 1,031


3,488 1,063


3,651 1,039


3,642 1,051


3,571 1,057


3,635 950


3,728 1,093


3,751 1,085


4,098 1,092

Work injuries involving transportation incidents remained the most common fatal event in 2016, accounting for 40 percent (2,083). Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased 23 percent to become the second most common fatal event in 2016. Two other events with large changes were exposure to harmful substances or environments, which rose 22 percent, and fires and explosions, which declined 27 percent.

Fatal occupational injuries by major event 2015–16
Event 2015 2016

Transportation incidents

2,054 2,083

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

703 866

Falls, slips, trips

800 849

Contact with objects and equipment

722 761

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

424 518

Fires and explosions

121 88

Fatal work injuries involving violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased by 163 cases to 866 in 2016. Workplace homicides increased by 83 cases to 500 in 2016, and workplace suicides increased by 62 to 291. This is the highest homicide figure since 2010 and the most suicides since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting data in 1992.

Fatal work injuries from falls, slips, or trips continued a general upward trend that began in 2011, increasing 6 percent to 849 in 2016 and 25 percent overall since 2011. Falls increased more than 25 percent in 2016 for roofers, carpenters, tree trimmers and pruners, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

Overdoses from the nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016, a 32-percent increase. Overdose fatalities have increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012.

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2016" (HTML) (PDF). See more in Charts related to the latest “Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries” news release.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 5,190 fatal work injuries in the United States during 2016 at (visited June 13, 2024).

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