According to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the total number of workplace injuries in the U.S. increased in 2015. A total of 4,836 of these injuries proved fatal, a slight rise over the 4,821 work fatalities reported the previous year, although 2015 marked the most work-related fatalities since 2008.
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers experienced more fatalities nationwide in 2015 than workers in any other occupation. Transportation incidents involving these drivers were responsible for most of these fatal work injuries.
The private construction industry saw its highest numbers of fatal work accidents since 2008. Falls to a lower level accounted for 81 percent of all fatal falls. Of those cases where the height of the fall was known, more than two-fifths of fatal falls occurred from 15 feet or lower. Fatal falls to a lower level accounted for nearly 40 percent of fatal work injuries in the private construction industry in 2015.
Although older workers accounted for fewer deaths in 2015 when compared to 2014, workers age 65 and older saw “the second-largest number of fatalities for the group since the national census began in 1992”, according to the agency. In general, the data reveals that fatal injury rates are lower among younger workers between the ages of 24 to 34 years when compared to older workers over the age of 65.
Likely, in some part, due to the transitory nature of their work, self-employed workers had a fatal injury rate 4 times higher than the rate for wage and salary workers. Although they did not see an increase over 2014, Non-Hispanic black and African-American workers fatality rate was the highest since 2008. Hispanic or Latino employees, and workers not born in the U.S., all saw increases in workplace fatalities over previous years, perhaps in part because of communication barriers and the large number of temporary workers among their ranks.