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On-the-job deaths jump nearly 6% in 2022:  US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Washington — A total of 5,486 workers died from on-the-job injuries in 2022 – a 5.7% increase from the previous year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Dec. 19.

It’s the sixth time in seven years that workplace deaths surpassed 5,000 on the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. BLS recorded 4,764 in 2020 – the lowest number of fatalities since 4,585 were recorded in 2013. From 2009 to 2015, fatalities remained below the 5,000 mark.

The rate of fatal work-related injuries rose to 3.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 3.6 in 2021.

Transportation incidents remained the top cause of death, resulting in 2,066 fatalities and accounting for 37.7% of all fatal work-related injuries.

Unintentional overdose deaths increased 13.1%, to 525 in 2022 from 464 in 2021, continuing a trend of annual increases since 2012.

“More must be done by employers to prevent these fatalities,” the National Safety Council says in a statement on the newly released data. “Overdoses can happen anywhere, and the BLS report shows these medical emergencies can be fatal and are occurring in the workplace.

“This further makes overdose and naloxone awareness, access to naloxone in workplace first aid kits and other locations, and adoption of programs to ensure workplaces and their employees are equipped to save a life critical components to workplace safety.”

Also of note from BLS:

  • A worker died every 96 minutes in 2022, compared with every 101 minutes the year before.

  • The transportation and material moving sector had the highest number of workplace fatalities (1,620), followed by construction and extraction (1,056).

  • The fatality rates for Black/African American workers (4.2 per 100,000 FTE) and Hispanic/Latino workers (4.6) increased from 4.0 and 4.5 in 2021, respectively. Transportation incidents were the most frequent cause of death among these groups.

The data release is the second of two annual BLS reports. The first, released Nov. 8, examines nonfatal injuries and illnesses among private-sector employees.

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