Falls Down; Suicides, Overdoses and Equipment Deaths Up in 2018

Fatal Occupational Injuries

Fatal Occupational Injuries

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2018. While the overall rate of fatal work injuries remained the same from 2017 to 2018, the nature of the injuries has changed. Transportation incidents are still the most common cause of fatal work injuries, with about the same number of deaths in 2018 as 2017, even though taxi driver and chauffer deaths were down by 24%. There were some major changes in other categories.

Falls to a Lower Level Lowest since 2013

Deaths from slips, trips, and falls reached an all-time high in 2017, but went down by 11% in 2018. Breaking down the types of falls, falls to a lower level decreased by 14% and were at their lowest since 2013.

Equipment and Machinery Deaths and Falling Objects

The fatal fall number might make it seem like safety has improved, but the number of deaths from falls shifted to death from contact with objects. In 2018, there was a 17% increase in workers killed by falling objects or equipment and a 39% increased in workers who died because they got caught in running equipment or machinery.

Suicide and Unintentional Overdose

Unintentional overdose, from alcohol use or nonmedical drug use, has been on the rise for over half a decade, from 65 in 2012 to 305 in 2018. In 2018 overdose deaths increased by 12% over 2017.

Intentional suicides also increased. The report includes suicides in a category called “violence and other injuries by persons or animals” which overall increased by three percent. Work-related suicides alone increased by 11% from 275 to 304.

Avatar About Sandra Dalton

With a background as a paralegal, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights, Sandra Dalton launched her freelance writing career in 2000 with a weekly column on Freedom for Suite 101 and pro bono projects for individuals and organizations supporting causes close to her heart. One of her first projects was for the Police Compliant Center writing about police misconduct. Sandra’s legal writing quickly expanded to include personal injury, animal welfare, criminal defense, disability discrimination, family law and much more.