According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of fatal jobsite injuries in the U.S. increased by nearly 9 percent from 2020 to 2021.
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report revealed there were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in 2021 – the most recent year of datba available. That total was up from 4,764 fatal work injuries in 2020.
The jump marked an 8.9 percent increase. Over the last decade, it was the second-highest total, trailed only by the 5,333 workplace deaths in 2019.
The study showed the U.S. had a fatal work injury rate of 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, up from 3.4 per 100,000 FTE in 2020. It marked the highest annual rate since 2016.
On average, a worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021.
Falls, slips and trips accounted for 850 fatalities (16.3 percent), up from 805 fatalities in 2020. Contact with objects and equipment led to 705 deaths (13.5 percent), according to the report.
For the second straight year, construction and extraction occupations saw a decrease in jobsite deaths. Fatalities fell from 1,066 in 2019; to 976 in 2020; and 951 in 2021.
The report also provided data for certain construction trades workers.
Within the construction industry, roofers saw an increase from 47 fatalities per 100,000 FTE in 2020 to 59 FTE deaths in 2021. Unfortunately, the rate of fatal work injuries for structural iron and steel workers increased as well. The FTE rose from 32.5 in 2020 to 36.1 in 2021.
Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to 798 worker fatalities in 2021, up from 672 in 2020. This was the highest figure since the annual report was first issued in 2011. This major event category experienced the largest increase in fatalities in 2021, increasing 18.8 percent from 2020.
Unintentional overdose from nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol accounted for 58.1 percent of these fatalities (464 deaths), up from 57.7 percent of this category’s total in 2020.