Workplace fatalities in the manufacturing industry grew in 2014, according to preliminary data released by the US Department of Labor this month. The initial results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reveal a 9 percent increase in manufacturing fatalities, a total of 341 last year compared to 312 in 2013.
The highest number of deaths—102—resulted from contact with objects and equipment. Deaths from transportation incidents decreased, but more people died in 2014 from fires, explosions, falls and exposure to harmful substances or environments.
The preliminary results show on the whole, the rate of fatal work injuries in 2014 was the same as 2013—3.3 per 100,000 full-time workers. However, 4,679 workers died from occupational injuries in 2014, 2 percent higher than 2013’s total of 4,585.
Thomas Perez, US secretary of labor, highlights the high number of Hispanic workers who died on the job in 2014. Though the number fell from 817 in 2013 to 789 last year, Perez calls the number unacceptably high, adding significant work still needs to be done.
“Far too many people are still killed on the job—13 workers every day taken from their families tragically and unnecessarily,” says Perez. “These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires. 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 all workers can return home safely at the end of every day.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a key finding in the 2014 report was that work injuries in private goods-producing industries were 9 percent higher than the revised 2013 count but slightly lower in private service-providing industries.
In all, falls, slips and trips increased 10 percent to 793 in 2014 from 724 in 2013. Fatal work injuries involving workers 55 years of age and over also rose 9 percent to 1,621 in 2014 up from 1,490 in 2013. The preliminary 2014 count for workers 55 and over is the highest total ever reported by the CFOI. In addition, women incurred 13 percent more fatal work injuries in 2014 than in 2013. However, even with this increase, women accounted for only 8 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in 2014.