By James L. CurtisAdam R. YoungMelissa A. Ortega, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Bureau of Labor statistics addresses the rise in worker deaths in 2022, and expected data for 2023.

This week’s announcement by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a 5.7 percent increase in fatal occupational injuries nationally.  African-American and Hispanic workers saw the largest increase in workplace fatalities. 

“In 2022, 5,486 workers in the U.S. lost their lives. This equates to one worker death every 96 minutes, with deaths the highest among transportation and construction workers. We also saw growth in disparities for workers of color, including Black workers, whose fatality rate increased 12.4 percent, and Hispanic workers, whose rate grew by 10.4 percent.”

Women made up only 8.1 percent of all workplace fatalities but accounted for 15.3 percent of homicides in 2022.  In terms of age group, workers aged 55 to 64 continued to have the highest number of fatalities in 2022 with 1,175 (21.4 percent of total fatalities), up from 1,140 in 2021. Transportation incidents were the highest cause of fatalities for this age group (455), followed by falls, slips, and trips (251).

OSHA has made a primary focus on falls and fall hazards in 2023, with the Directorate of Construction focusing enforcement efforts on preventing fatal falls. Nevertheless, work-related fatalities due to falls, slips, and trips increased 1.8 percent in 2022, resulting in 865 fatalities.

Given this fatality data, we anticipate OSHA agencies will continue to focus their enforcement resources on industries with fall hazards, disadvantaged demographic groups, and the risks of workplace violence.  For more information on this or any related topic, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.