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BLS reports increase in workplace fatalities in 2016

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released its Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries, which reports there were 5,190 workplace fatalities in 2016—a 7 percent increase from 2015, according to www.osha.gov. Additionally, the fatal injury rate also increased from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2015 to 3.6 in 2016.

More workers lost their lives in transportation incidents than any other event in 2016, accounting for about 25 percent of fatal injuries. Workplace violence injuries increased by 23 percent, making it the second most common cause of workplace fatalities. The report also shows the number of overdoses on the job increased by 32 percent in 2016, and the number of fatalities has increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012.

"Today's occupational fatality data show a tragic trend with the third consecutive increase in worker fatalities in 2016—the highest since 2008. America's workers deserve better, said Loren Sweatt, OSHA's deputy assistant secretary, in a statement regarding the report. "The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is committed to finding new and innovative ways of working with employers and employees to improve workplace safety and health. OSHA will work to address these trends through enforcement, compliance assistance, education and training, and outreach.

"As President Trump recognized by declaring opioid abuse a Nationwide Public Health Emergency, the nation's opioid crisis is impacting Americans every day at home and, as this data demonstrates, increasingly on the job," the statement continued. "The Department of Labor will work with public and private stakeholders to help eradicate the opioid crisis as a deadly and growing workplace issue."


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