There were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2021, an 8.9 percent increase from 4,764 in 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in mid-December. The fatal work injury rate was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, up from 3.4 per 100,000 FTE in 2020, and up from the 2019 pre-pandemic rate of 3.5. (See chart 2.) The data is reported by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).
Key findings from the 2021 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries
- The 3.6 fatal occupational injury rate in 2021 represents the highest annual rate since 2016.
- A worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021.
- The share of Black or African American workers fatally injured on the job reached an all-time high in 2021, increasing from 11.4 percent of total fatalities in 2020, to 12.6 percent of total fatalities in 2021.
- Suicides continued to trend down, decreasing to 236 in 2021 from 259 in 2020, an 8.9 percent decrease.
- Workers in transportation and material moving occupations, experienced a series high of 1,523 fatal work injuries in 2021, and represents the occupational group with the highest number of fatalities. This is an increase of 18.8 percent from 2020.
- Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event in 2021 with 1,982 fatal injuries, an increase of 11.5 percent from 2020. This major category accounted for 38.2 percent of all work-related fatalities for 2021.