Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities

Fatal Occupational Injuries and Workers’ Memorial Day

In 2010, a total of 4,690 workers died from injuries they suffered at work. That works out to one U.S. worker dying every 2 hours from a work-related injury.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program released its final data for the 2010 reference year on April 25, 2012—just 3 days before Workers’ Memorial Day. Recognized each year on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to remember workers who were killed, injured, or made ill at work and to highlight the hazards in the workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and other federal agencies use CFOI data to identify ways to prevent worker deaths and injuries.

This fact sheet provides an overview of fatal occupational injuries in the United States. For more data on fatal occupational injuries from CFOI, see the CFOI homepage. For information on nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the workplace, see the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF) page.

Number and rate of fatal injuries

The number of fatal occupational injuries has declined since the mid-1990s. The 2010 total (4,690) was the second-lowest ever recorded by CFOI. The lower counts in both 2009 (4,551) and 2010 are likely related to the slower U.S. economy during those years. Fatal injury rates have also declined since the mid-1990s.

Number of fatal work injuries in the United States, 1992–2010
[Chart data]

Types of fatal events

CFOI fatal work injury data show that the events that lead to these fatal work injuries have changed over the past 19 years. Highway incidents are still the most common cause of fatal occupational injuries (1,044 in 2010), while workplace homicides have fallen by more than 50 percent from from a series high of 1,080 in 1994 (down to 518 in 2010).

Four most frequent work-related fatal injury events, 1992–2010
Year Highway incidents Homicides Falls Struck by object


1,158 1,044 600 557


1,242 1,074 618 565


1,343 1,080 665 591


1,346 1,036 651 547


1,346 927 691 582


1,393 860 716 579


1,442 714 706 520


1,496 651 721 585


1,365 677 734 571


1,409 643 810 553


1,373 609 719 505


1,353 632 696 531


1,398 559 822 602


1,437 567 770 607


1,356 540 827 589


1414 628 847 504


1,215 526 700 520


985 542 645 420


1044 518 646 404

[Chart data]

Fatal work injuries by industry

While the private construction industry had the highest number of fatal occupational injuries in 2010, the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry had the highest fatal work injury rate.

Number and rate of fatal occupational injuries, by industry sector, 2010
[Chart data]

Fatal work injuries by occupation

Fishers and related fishing workers, logging workers, and aircraft pilots and flight engineers were among the occupations with high fatal work injury rates in 2010.

Occupations with high fatal work injury rates, 2010
[Chart data]

Fatal work injuries by state

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia had more fatal injuries in 2010 than in 2009. Twenty states had fewer fatal workplace injuries in 2010 compared to 2009. Two states had the same number of fatal workplace injuries in 2010 as in 2009.

Number of fatal work injuries, by State, 2010
[Chart data]

Washington, 104Oregon, 47California, 326Idaho, 33Nevada, 38Montana, 36Wyoming, 33Utah, 41Arizona, 77Colorado, 85New Mexico, 38North Dakota, 30South Dakota, 36Nebraska, 54Kansas, 85Oklahoma, 94Texas, 461Louisiana, 111Arkansas, 88Missouri, 106Iowa, 77Minnesota, 70Alaska, 39Hawaii, 19Kentucky, 69Tennessee, 138Mississippi, 68Alabama, 92Florida, 225Georgia, 108South Carolina, 69North Carolina, 139Virginia, 107District of Columbia, 16West Virginia, 95Maryland, 71Delaware, 8Wisconsin, 91Illinois, 206Michigan, 146Indiana, 118Ohio, 161Pennsylvania, 221New Jersey, 81New York, 182Connecticut, 49Rhode Island, 9Massachusetts, 54Vermont, 12New Hampshire, 6Maine, 20

More information on the final CFOI data for 2010 can be found at

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