More People Are Working – But Are They Safer?

NSC unveils workplace section of Injury Facts to help the public understand the greatest risks facing them on the job.

October 23, 2018

HOUSTON – National Safety Council analysis shows workplace deaths – both intentional and preventable – rose 7.3% in 2016, from 4,836 to 5,190. It was the third straight year deaths at work increased, and the rise is largely driven by issues such as transportation, falls and violence. With unemployment rates at historic lows, NSC unveiled the Workplace section of its Injury Facts database in the hope that employers and employees use the information to make their workplaces safer.

The Council revealed the new section at its annual Congress and Expo in Houston.

“We are eight times safer at work than we are at home, but the data remind us that our workplaces could still be much safer,” said Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the NSC. “The numbers underscore the need for public awareness. We hope Injury Facts can help people understand the biggest risks to their safety and help employers understand where to focus their risk management efforts.”

Noteworthy workplace safety trends and offerings highlighted in the new section of Injury Facts include:

  • Women are disproportionately impacted by nonfatal workplace violence, with 70% of all assault-related injuries in the workplace occurring to females. The number of women who incurred assault-related injuries at work in 2016 totaled 11,770 – a 68% increase since 2011. By contrast, 5,060 men sustained assault-related nonfatal injuries at work in 2016.
  • The construction industry continues to experience the most worker deaths, leading all industries with 959 fatalities in 2016. Transportation and warehousing is second with 764.
  • Workplace injuries cost society $151 billion annually between lost productivity and wages, medical expenses and administrative expenses. The cost of a single workplace death is $1.12 million.
  • Encouragingly, injuries from falls to a lower level (48,060) and falls to the same level (141,600) are both trending down.
  • 70% of nonfatal workplace assaults occur to women, whereas over 81% of fatal workplace assaults occur to men.
  • Overdoses from the non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016, a 32% increase.
  • Deaths among workers aged 55 or older totaled 1,848 – a 9.9% increase.
  • Deaths among black or African-American, non-Hispanics increased 18.6%, totaling 587.
  • Deaths among Asian, non-Hispanic workers increased 40.4%, totaling 160 deaths.

Safety professionals often want to compare, or benchmark, the workplace injury and illness incidence rates of their organizations with national average rates. To make this easy, Injury Facts now includes a tool that does not require employers to know their North American Industry Calculator System number (NAICS) to perform a search. Once employers have calculated their incident rate, they can input their results and compare to others in their industry.

Injury Facts is the Council’s 98-year-old compilation of preventable death and injury that has transitioned to an online, interactive portal in order to expedite the flow of critical safety information to the general public. Injury Facts is available at injuryfacts.nsc.org.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.

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With a century-long legacy, the National Safety Council is a global center for safety expertise. Let's work together to align resources. We look forward to learning about ways we can join efforts to expand safety everywhere!

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