Deadly Work Accidents and Violence: Fatal Occupational Injury Rate Up in 2021

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fatal occupational injuries rose to 5,190 in 2021 — an 8.9-percent increase from 4,764 in 2020 and the highest national increase since 2016. The 2021 rate of 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers is up from 3.4 in 2020 and 3.5 in 2019 (pre-pandemic).

As Maryland Workers Compensation attorneys, we’re well aware of the dangers inherent to certain job fields, including construction and transportation. The BLS breaks down its most recent report into some interesting statistics related to the rise in fatal work injuries in 2021….

The National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2021 report includes the following key findings:

  • A U.S. worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021.
  • Workers who experienced the most fatalities were those employed in transportation and material moving occupations, with a high of 1,523 fatal work injuries in 2021 — increasing 18.8% over 2020.
  • The numbers of Black and African American workers who died due to being injured on the job reached an all-time high, increasing from 11.4% of total work fatalities in 2020 to 12.6% in 2021.
  • Violence and other injuries caused by persons or animals increased to 761 fatalities in 2021 from 705 fatalities in 2020; the largest subcategory was intentional injuries by persons, which increased 10.3% to 718 in 2021.
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to 798 worker fatalities in 2021, the highest figure since the series began in 2011.
  • Work-related fatalities due to falls, slips, and trips increased 5.6% in 2021, from 805 fatalities in 2020 to 850 in 2021.

Maryland’s 2021 workplace fatality statistics mirror the national trends. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals led to 23 deaths, transportation incidents caused 21 deaths, and exposure to harmful substances or environments led to 19 deaths. There were 80 total workplace injury deaths in Maryland in 2021.

Whatever the cause, families are devastated when a loved one loses their life in the course of doing their job. The Maryland Workers Compensation system, as well as the Maryland Courts system, can be extremely difficult to navigate without experienced legal representation. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or someone died due to work-related illness or injury, please contact our compassionate Maryland Work Injury attorneys at (800) 722-6616. The consultation is free. Let us help your family pursue the compensation you are entitled to and begin the path to healing.


National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2021
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics  Dec. 16, 2022

Fatal occupational injuries in Maryland 2021
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, collected online Dec. 16, 2022

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