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Fatal work injuries in 2021 were up 8.9 percent over 2020

A worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021

Posted December 16, 2022

A worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). A total of 5,190 fatal work injuries was recorded in the U.S. in 2021, an 8.9 percent increase over 2020.

The fatal work injury rate was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, up from 3.4 in 2020. This was the highest annual rate since 2016.

Key findings from the 2021 CFOI

  • The share of Black or African American workers fatally injured on the job reached an all-time high in 2021. Deaths for this group increased 20.7 percent over 2020.
  • Workers in transportation and material moving occupations experienced a series high of 1,523 fatal work injuries in 2021 and represent 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.
  • Suicides continued to trend down, with an 8.9 percent decrease over 2020.

Worker characteristics

  • Black or African American workers, as well as Hispanic or Latino workers, had fatality rates in 2021 that were higher than the all-worker rate of 3.6. Transportation incidents were the highest cause of fatalities within both of these groups.
  • Women made up 8.6 percent of all workplace fatalities but represented 14.5 percent of intentional injuries by a person in 2021.
  • Workers between the ages of 45 and 54 suffered 1,087 workplace fatalities, a 13.9 percent increase from 2020.


This article was written by Rachel Krubsack of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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