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  • 10 Industries with the Most Fatal Injuries Per Year in the US

    10 Industries with the Most Fatal Injuries Per Year in the US

    January 3, 2024 | Personal Injury, Workers Compensation

    Industries with the most wrongful death workers’ compensation cases per year

    While we, as a society, continue to work toward creating the safest planet possible, we must continue to focus on workplace safety. Reducing injuries and fatalities at work is not an easy task for all industries, however, it’s crucial to identify which of these industries have the most frequent workers’ compensation cases and reported fatal injuries. Our goal is to shed light on these challenges and offer strategies to enhance safety protocols in the workplace. 

    Unfortunately, work-related injuries and deaths occur in just about every industry.  No matter how easy the work or how safe the environment, it is nearly impossible to completely avoid accidents or negligence.  Workers’ compensation claims are filed every day, but some industries are more likely to have employees injured or killed on the job. 

    In these, industries companies and employers know the risk is higher, so they want to do everything they can to make sure they are covered if someone is to go wrong and an employee is left temporarily or permanently injured.

    How often are people killed due to workplace injuries in the United States?

    There are a handful of industries that probably come to mind when thinking about a possibly dangerous occupation. Construction workers, police officers, the military, and many other present obvious risks. 

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a total of 5,486 employees died in 2022 due to injuries sustained while working. This is the highest number of workplace fatalities recorded in the United States in the past 10 years.  

    Even with advancements in technology and increased safety regulations, injuries and fatalities continue to rise in the United States. The BLS stated:

    “Private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2022, up 7.5 percent from 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This increase is driven by the rise in both injuries, up 4.5 percent to 2.3 million cases, and illnesses up 26.1 percent to 460,700 cases. “

    Below is a graph showing an increase in workplace injuries over the past 10 years:

    nonfatal workplace injuries in the United States over the past 10 years

    As the graph shows, the United States has yet to find a way to consistently reduce deaths in the workplace and workers’ compensation lawsuits.

    Related: Workers’ compensation statistics

    What industries are responsible for the most fatal in the United States?

    The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates its fatality rate based on the number of deaths in an industry per 100,000 full-time employees. Overall, the construction industry has the most fatalities each year but because it also has a very high number of employees, there are only around 10 deaths per 100,000 employees.

    Using this method, they have concluded that the following industries are the most dangerous:

    10 Industries with the highest total number of fatal injuries in the United States

    1. Construction-related fatalities: 1,069
    2. Fishing & hunting related workers: 99.8 per 100,000
    3. Logging workers: 84.3 per 100,000
    4. Aircraft pilots: 48.6 per 100,000
    5. Roofers: 45.2 per 100,000
    6. Recyclable materials collectors: 35.0 per 100,000
    7. Iron/Steelworkers: 33.4 per 100,000
    8. Truck drivers: 26.8 per 100,000 (987 total – the highest among all industries)
    9. Farmers and ranchers: 24.0 per 100,000
    10. Lawn service and groundskeeping workers: 21.0 per 100,000
    11. Power-line installation and repair workers: 18.7 per 100,000
    1. Fishing & Hunting Related Workers

    In 2022, 41 people working in fishing, hunting, and related industries died due to workplace injuries. This calculates to 99.8 deaths per 100,000 employees in the United States; the highest of all in the United States.

    1. Logging Workers

    Logging is dangerous for obvious reasons. Employees are working with huge machinery, cutting down even bigger trees, and more often than not, the only way transport to a hospital is by helicopter. 84.3 deaths per 100,000 logging workers were caused in 2017.

    1. Pilots and Flight Engineers

    It comes as no surprise that aircraft pilots injuries are almost always fatal. In 2017, there were 59 deaths caused by workplace injuries in the pilot industry.

    Industries with the most overall deaths in the United States

    This data, collected by the Bearue of Labor Statistics, outlines the industries with the most fatalities and the total number of each.

    The top 10 industries with workplace fatalities in the United States in 2023

    Workplace injuries by total number of fatalities per industry

    1. Construction fatalities (1,069)
    2. Transportation and warehousing fatalities (1,053)
    3. Professional services fatalities (598)
    4. Fishing, hunting, and forestry fatalities (417)
    5. Manufacturing fatalities (404)
    6. Hospitality industries fatalities (306)
    7. Retail fatalities (301)
    8. Education and health industries (189)

    As you can see, construction workers had the highest number of workplace deaths in 2022 – Beareu’s most recent year of data. For more information, see our page on Workers’ Compensation for construction workers in Missouri.

    Which state had the most workplace fatalities in 2022?

    It is also important to determine which states continually see a high number of deaths on the job. Obviously, states with the largest populations are likely to see more deaths because of the increased workforce size, but, when the numbers continue to stay high year after year, it is up to that state’s employers and government officials to find solutions.

    StateFatal work injuries, 2022Fatal work injuries, 2021
    District of Columbia1512
    New Hampshire1921
    New Jersey116110
    New Mexico5753
    New York251247
    North Carolina217179
    North Dakota3734
    Rhode Island75
    South Carolina132107
    South Dakota2720
    West Virginia4836

    How dangerous industries can work to decrease injuries and deaths on the job

    Wrongful death workers’ compensation claims

    Workers’ compensation claims can still be filed if a loved one died as a result of injuries suffered on the job. No matter how obvious or minor the negligence was, you still deserve to be compensated for your loss. 

    Please contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Ortwerth Law to get any questions answered.