Workplaces Safer in 2007

August 20, 2008 ( - A total of 5,488 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2007, a decrease of 6% from the revised total of 5,840 fatal work injuries reported for 2006.

A news release from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that while these results are considered preliminary, this figure represents the smallest annual preliminary total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program was first conducted in 1992. Final results for 2007 will be released in April 2009.

Based on these preliminary counts, the rate of fatal injury for U.S. workers in 2007 was 3.7 fatal work injuries per 100,000 workers, down from the final rate of 4.0 per 100,000 workers in 2006, and the lowest annual fatality rate ever reported by the fatality census (See BLS: Workplace Fatalities Slightly Down in 2006 ).

According to the BLS, the workplace safety data also indicated that:

  • the number of fatal falls in 2007 rose to a series high of 835 – a 39% increase since 1992 when the CFOI program was first conducted.
  • transportation incidents, which typically account for two-fifths of all workplace fatalities, fell to a series low of 2,234 cases in 2007.
  • workplace homicides rose 13% to 610 in 2007 after reaching a series low of 540 in 2006.
  • the number of fatal workplace injuries among protective service occupations rose 19% in 2007 to 337, led by an increase in the number of police officers fatally injured on the job.
  • fatal occupational injuries incurred by non-Hispanic Black or African American workers were at the highest level since 1999, but fatal work injuries among Hispanic workers were lower by 8% in 2007.
  • 2007 fatalities classified by type of accident showed that nearly all types of transportation fatalities saw sizable decreases in 2007 relative to 2006, including non-highway incidents (down 15%); workers struck by vehicle, mobile equipment (down 10%); water vehicle incidents (down 28%); railway incidents (down 26%); and aircraft incidents (down 23%);
  • highway incidents also decreased, but only by 3%.

The 835 fatal falls in 2007 represented a series high for the fatality census. The increase for falls overall was driven primarily by increases in falls on same level (up 21% from 2006) and falls from nonmoving vehicles (up 17%). Falls from roofs, however, were down 13% from the number in 2006.

Workplace homicides increased by 13% in 2007. Even with the increase, workplace homicides have declined 44% from the high of 1,080 reported in 1994. Workplace homicides involving police officers and supervisors of retail sales workers both saw substantial increases in 2007.

The report is available here .