Fatal occupational work injuries decreased significantly in 2020. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal injuries fell 10.7 percent from 2019 to 2020.
Still, 2020 saw 4,764 occupational fatalities. To put it another way, a fatality occurred every 111 minutes. Continue reading for an overview of the most dangerous occupations and worker demographics for 2020.
Transportation and material moving
The census reveals that transportation is the most dangerous industry in the United States. Transportation fatalities represented 37.3 percent of all workplace deaths. If you include material moving occupations, the percentage increases to 47.4. However, transportation deaths decreased from 2,122 to 1,778 in 2020.
Healthcare support occupation fatalities increased by 15.8 percent in 2020. The number increased from 38 to 44 deaths.
Piloting and engineering
Aircraft pilots and flight engineers became a much safer occupation in 2020, probably due to decreased total flights taken. The fatality rate fell from 61.8 per 100,000 to 34.3.
Another unfortunate statistic is the increase in Hispanic or Latino fatality percentages. Though the overall number decreased, the rate of all workplace fatalities increased from 20.4 to 22.5. Hispanic and Latino workers comprise 20 and 32 percent of transportation and construction jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the two most dangerous jobs in America.
Women make up a small percentage of workplace fatalities at 8.1 percent. However, they are the victims of 16.3 percent of workplace homicides. In 2020 there were 392 homicides in the workplace.
The fatalities described above represent a unique year for occupational hazards. Though some occupations experienced fewer fatalities, the explanation might not be an increase in safety but rather a decrease in activity.