There were a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2017, down slightly from the 5,190 in 2016, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
BLS also reports that the fatal injury rate decreased to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down a bit from 3.6 in 2016.
Both the transportation and material moving occupational group and the construction and extraction group accounted for 47% of worker deaths in 2017. Transportation incidents remained the most frequent fatal event in 2017, accounting for 2,077, or 40%, of all occupational fatalities.
Within the occupational subgroup, driver/sales workers and truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the largest number of fatal occupational injuries with 840.
This represented the highest value for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers since the occupational series began in 2003, the bureau notes.
Fatal falls were at their highest level in the 26 years that the records have been kept, accounting for 887, or 17%, of worker deaths.
Violence and other injuries by persons or animals decreased 7% in 2017, with homicides and suicides decreasing by 8% and 5%, respectively.
Unintentional overdoses due to nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol while at work increased 25% from 217 in 2016 to 272 in 2017. This was the fifth consecutive year in which unintentional workplace overdose deaths have increased by at least 25%.
Contact with objects and equipment incidents were down 9% (to 695 in 2017 from 761 in 2016) with caught in running equipment or machinery deaths down 26% (to 76 in 2017 from 103 in 2016).
Fatal occupational injuries involving confined spaces rose 15% to 166 in 2017 from 144 in 2016. Crane-related workplace fatalities fell to their lowest level recorded with 33 deaths in 2017.