Health care was among the occupations that saw the largest declines in fatal work injuries in the most recent year federal data is available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It recently released statistics on workplace fatalities in the U.S. for fiscal year 2016. They show that “health care practitioners and technical occupations” experienced the biggest decline: 19 percent.
Across occupations, the figures show a 7 percent increase in deaths compared to 2015. The fatal injury rate also increased, meaning that the increase in deaths was not attributable to more people employed than the previous year. The death rate is now the highest since the pre-recession year of 2008.
BLS noted that about one quarter of workplace deaths involve transportation incidents. Workplace violence fatalities rose 23 percent over 2015. Finally, the agency said that fatal overdoses at work increased by a third in 2015 and have risen at least 25 percent each year since 2012.
While these fatalities may not be related to working conditions, they reflect the continuing toll taken on U.S. employees due to the opioid crisis. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will use these statistics in developing its inspection and regulatory emphasis program for the next year.