Steady decline in workplace fatalities

The latest statistics on fatalities that result from work injuries reflect some positive trends overall, although there was an increase in the number of temporary workers who died.

The number of “contractors” — or temp workers– fatally injured on the job in the U.S. rose to 715 in 2012 from 542 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Contractors represented 15.5 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in 2012, up from approximately 11.6 percent in 2011. Typically, many of those temporary workers were assigned to construction or transportation projects. 

According to the BLS, the final count of fatal work injuries in the United States in 2012 was 4,628 – the second-lowest annual total recorded since the government began conducting its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 1992.

The overall fatal work injury rate for the United States in 2012 was 3.4 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down slightly from the 3.5 rate in 2011.

The final 2012 numbers include revisions and additions to initial 2012 CFOI counts based on information received after the release of preliminary results.

Among the changes resulting from the updates:

  • Roadway incidents were higher by 109 cases from the preliminary count, increasing the total number of fatal work-related roadway incidents in 2012 to 1,153 cases. The final 2012 total represented a 5 percent increase over the final 2011 count.
  • Work-related suicides increased by 24 cases to a total of 249 after updates were added.
  • Workplace homicides were higher by 12 cases after the updates, raising the workplace homicide total in 2012 to 475 cases.
  • An increase of 31 fatal work injuries in private-sector construction led to a revised count of 806 for that sector. The 2012 total was an increase of 9 percent over the 2011 total and represented the first increase in fatal work injuries in private construction since 2006. The previous five-year drop in private-sector construction fatalities was attributed to a decrease in employment. 

About the Author


Lon Matejczyk

Lon is the former publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group.He has served in leadership roles at various newspapers in Iowa, Florida and Wisconsin. Lon received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and attended the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Earlier in his career, Lon spent several years as a sea captain and held a 100-ton Coast Guard license. Lon is a former rugby player, referee and administrator and now coaches under 13 year old kids. Lon has served on the boards of numerous community and business organizations including Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, Peak Venture Group, CS Quality of Life Indicators Business Index Committee, Junior Achievement and is a member of The Colorado Thirty Group.  Lon was given the “Making the Pikes Peak region a better place to live work and play” award by the CS Chamber of Commerce, was the VFW Post 1’s business citizen of the year.