OSHA requires that organizations provide training to all employees exposed to fall hazards.

Bad News in Preliminary 2014 Fatal Work Injury Data

Fatal falls, slips, and trips rose by 10 percent from the previous year. Transportation-related fatalities also increased slightly. The number of oil and gas workers who died on the job in 2014 rose from 112 in 2013 to 143 in 2014 (a 28 percent increase) and construction deaths rose by 6 percent to 874 in 2014.

Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries showed fatal work injuries increased by 2 percent in 2014 from the prior year, although the rate of 3.3 per 100,000 full-time workers stayed the same. The preliminary total in 2014 was 4,679 fatal work injuries.

"Far too many people are still killed on the job – 13 workers every day taken from their families tragically and unnecessarily. These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires," U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said in a statement. "Preliminary results tell us 789 Hispanic workers died on the job in 2014, compared with 817 in 2013. While we were gratified by that drop, the number is still unacceptably high, and it is clear that there is still much more hard work to do. BLS data shows fatalities rising in the construction sector (along with an overall increase in construction employment). Dangerous workplaces also are taking the lives of a growing number of people in oil and gas extraction. That is why OSHA continues extensive outreach and strong enforcement campaigns in these industries. The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to work with employers, workers, community organizations, unions, and others to make sure that all workers can return home safely at the end of every day."

The number of fatal falls, slips, and trips is particularly concerning: They rose by 10 percent in 2014 from the previous year. Falls to lower level were up 9 percent to 647 from 595 in 2013, while falls on the same level increased 17 percent, according to BLS. And fatal work injuries due to transportation incidents rose slightly to 1,891 from 1,865 in 2013, with transportation incidents accounting for 40 percent of fatal workplace injuries in 2014.

Fatal work injuries due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals were lower in 2014, with 749 deaths in 2014 compared to 773 in 2013.

Revised 2014 data from CFOI will be released in the spring 2016, and for the past five years, there have been net increases ranging from 2 to 6 percent in those totals.

The AFL-CIO said the data account for only a fraction of workers killed on the job in 2014 because the fatality numbers do not include the estimated 50,000 workers who die of chronic occupational illnesses each year. "The death on the jobs numbers are always sobering. There is no acceptable number of workers dying on the job year after year," AFL-CIO Senior Safety & Health Specialist Rebecca Reindel said. "These findings are especially frightening considering the continued corporate attacks on common-sense safety regulations. Regulations could help eliminate some of these workplace hazards. We must continue fighting for stronger workplace protections for all working people."

The number of oil and gas workers who died on the job in 2014 rose from 112 in 2013 to 143 in 2014 (a 28 percent increase) and construction deaths rose by 6 percent to 874 in 2014, the AFL-CIO highlighted.

Highlighting a major concern for OSHA and NIOSH leaders, the preliminary data show 797 contract workers died in 2014, 6 percent more than the 749 fatally-injured contract workers reported in 2013. Workers who were contracted at the time of their fatal injury accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injury cases in 2014, according to BLS.

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