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A look at workplace deaths, injuries, and illnesses on Workers’ Memorial Day

April 28, 2022

Workers’ Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for workers killed, disabled, or injured on the job, is observed annually on April 28. In 2020, 4,764 workers in the United States suffered fatal work injuries. Over that period, the private construction industry accounted for 1,008 deaths, or 21.2 percent of total deaths. This was followed by transportation and warehousing with 805 deaths, or 16.9 percent of total deaths.

Number of fatal work injuries, selected private industries, 2020
Industry Number of fatal work injuries

Construction

1,008

Transportation and warehousing

805

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting

511

Administration and support & waste management services

413

Manufacturing

340

Retail trade

275

Other services, except public administration

188

Accommodation and food services

160

Wholesale trade

155

Health care and social assistance

119

There were 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2020, a 5.7-percent decrease from 2019. Private industry employers experienced a 21.5-percent decrease in workplace injuries in 2020, while illness cases more than quadrupled over the year. Nonfatal illnesses include work-related cases of COVID–19.

Number of nonfatal work injuries and illnesses, selected private industries, 2020
Industry Total Injuries Illnesses

Health care and social assistance

806,200 453,300 352,900

Manufacturing

373,300 312,400 60,900

Retail trade

341,100 311,600 29,500

Transportation and warehousing

206,900 193,500 13,400

Accommodation and food services

191,000 175,900 15,100

Construction

174,000 165,300 8,700

Wholesale trade

132,200 118,400 13,800

Administration and support & waste management services

103,400 89,600 13,800

Other services, except public administration

54,700 49,200 5,500

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting

45,900 40,900 5,000

In 2020, there were 806,200 injury and illness cases in private health care and social assistance, a 40.1-percent increase from 2019. This was driven by a 958.1-percent increase in illness cases. Private retail trade experienced a 13.8-percent decrease in total injury and illness cases for 2020, despite a 217.1-percent increase in illness cases.

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more about fatal injuries, see “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2020.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data on fatal work illnesses. We also have more charts on fatal work injuries. To learn more about nonfatal injuries and illnesses, see “Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2020” and charts on nonfatal injuries and illnesses.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at workplace deaths, injuries, and illnesses on Workers’ Memorial Day at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/a-look-at-workplace-deaths-injuries-and-illnesses-on-workers-memorial-day.htm (visited August 11, 2022).

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