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What are the Most Common Work Related Fatalities?

The Most Dangerous Jobs and Industries in the U.S. in 2020

In the United States, on-the-job deaths decreased in 2020 from 2019 by approximately 10.7%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4,764 fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2020. This is the lowest number recorded since 2013. While the number of annual workplace fatalities decreased, it is still shocking at how many American workers and their families are affected by workplace fatalities.

In 2020, a worker died every 111 minutes from a work-related injury (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The numerous work-related injuries and fatalities include transportation incidents, workplace violence, exposure to harmful substances or environments, operating objects and equipment, slip, trip and fall accidents, and fires and explosions. These various types of workplace accidents cause serious and fatal injuries annually.

The number one on-the-job accident occurs from transportation accidents, including auto, rail, and water vehicle accidents. In 2020, there were 1,778 fatal injuries due to transportation incidents, and those accounted for 37.3% of all work-related fatalities for the year (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The trucking and construction industries are among the top industries that suffer from transportation fatalities. Falls, trips, and slips were the second most common work-related fatality for 2020. Most of the falls came from falling to a lower level rather than falling or slipping on the same level. Next, fatalities from contact with objects and equipment killed approximately 1,200 workers in 2020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This included being struck, stuck or caught, or crushed by equipment and objects. Workplace fatalities are more common than you might realize, and the toll it takes on the workers’ families is devastating.

In 2020, the number of Hispanic or Latino workers fatally injured on-the-job increased annually. The Hispanic and Latino race and ethnic group was the second largest group with fatalities in 2020, behind the White (non-Hispanic) group with the most fatalities (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Many Hispanic or Latino workers are employed in the construction, roofing, and landscaping industries, which are known to be dangerous industries with higher chances of work-related accidents occurring. The Black or African American (non-Hispanic) group placed third in work-related fatalities.

The age group with the most workplace fatalities in 2020 were men and women from the ages of 55-64 years old. The second largest age group with fatalities were 45-55 years old and the third group was 35-44 years old (Bureau of Labor Statistics). When it comes to gender, men accounted for 91.8% of the total workplace fatalities, while women had 8.2% of workplace fatalities. Since there are less women in industries with high work-related injuries (construction, roofing, iron and steel), it makes sense that women have a lower percentage of total work-related injuries and fatalities for the year.

Overall, there was a decrease for the first time since 2013 in work-related injuries and deaths. There could be many factors to why it decreased, for example, 2020 being a COVID year, and many workers worked from home and many businesses were shut down. Working from home or not working at all could have impacted the decrease in injuries and fatalities that year. This data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an overall scope of the most common workplace fatalities and the groups that are affected the most; however, workplace injuries can occur with any job or occupation. Be safe and use caution while working and performing workplace duties and responsibilities.

We realize that not all workplace injuries can be avoided and while we hope you stay healthy and safe, if you or a loved one is injured on the job or while carrying out workplace duties, call one of our workers’ compensation attorneys today. We are here to help you and your family collect the compensation you deserve for your work injury. Call us at 843-720-2800 to schedule a free consultation, or to learn more information, please visit

Updated on April 29, 2022

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