State of Connecticut Home Follow Us on FacebookFollow Us on TwitterFollow CTDOL on Instagram


February 2020 Connecticut Economic Digest

Connecticut's 2018 Work-Related Fatalities - Above Annual Average

By Erin C. Wilkins, Associate Research Analyst, Department of Labor

Connecticut lost 48 lives to work injuries in 2018, for a rate of 2.8 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. An increase from 2017's count of 35, it is higher than Connecticut's annual average of 39 work-related deaths (Chart 1).

Chart 1. Connecticut Work Related Fatalities 1992-2018

The nation lost 5,250 lives to workplace injuries in 2018, an increase from 2017's 5,147 deaths. However, the fatal injury rate remained unchanged from 2017 - 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The highest loss was seen in Texas with 488 deaths, followed by California with 422 deaths and Florida with 332 deaths. High rates were recorded in Wyoming (11.5) and Alaska (9.9). Delaware recorded both the lowest loss and the lowest rate with 7 deaths and a rate of 1.6.

Nationally, the construction industry recorded the highest number of deaths at 1,008, followed by transportation and warehousing with 874 deaths. The highest rate by industry was seen in truck transportation, with 28.3 deaths per 100,000 full time equivalent workers.

With 13 deaths, the construction industry had the highest number of deaths in Connecticut, accounting for 27.1 percent of 2018's deaths. Administration and support and waste management and remediation services came in second with 12 deaths, accounting for 25.0 percent of total deaths. With an overall rate of 2.8, Connecticut saw a rate of 10.9 in construction, 10.2 in transportation and utilities, and 5.4 in professional and business services. Rates for other industry sectors did not meet publishing criteria. The government sector recorded 2 deaths (Table 2).

Table 2. CT Fatal Occupational Injuries by Industry

Worker Characteristics
Of Connecticut's 48 work related deaths, 41 were men. This follows the national trend - 92 percent of 2018's work related deaths were men. Thirty-four of the workers were wage and salary workers; 14 were self-employed. Sixty-seven percent (32) of deaths were Caucasian and 14 were Hispanic or Latino.

Twelve workers were foreign born. Nationally, foreign born workers made up 20 percent of total fatal injuries. Forty percent of these workers were born in Mexico, followed by 17 percent from Asian countries.

Historically, the United States loses the most workers to transportation incidents. The year 2018 saw 2,080 lives lost to transportation incidents – 40 percent of all work related deaths. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals was the second most common event with 828 deaths (16 percent). Workplace homicides claimed 453 lives and suicides claimed 304. Falls, slips and trips was the third most common event with 791 deaths (15 percent). Unintentional overdoses due to nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol while at work increased 12 percent from 272 to 305. This is the sixth consecutive annual increase.

Table 1. Fatal Occupational Injuries by State 2018
With 19 deaths, transportation incidents claimed the most lives in Connecticut, accounting for 40 percent of total deaths. Falls, slips, and trips saw the largest increase from 2017 – from 4 deaths to 10. Over the past five years, Connecticut has lost 190 lives to workplace injuries (Table 3). Thirty-six percent of them were to transportation events. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals claimed 21 percent, followed by falls, slips and trips at 18 percent (Chart 2).

Chart 2. Connecticut Work-Related Deaths 2014 - 2018 By Event

Table 4. CT Fatal Occupational Injuries by Occupation

From 2014 to 2018, Connecticut had a total of 190 work related deaths. Of these, 28 percent were in the transportation and material moving occupations category. Eighty-one percent of which were motor vehicle operators, with material moving workers claiming an additional 15 percent. The construction and extraction occupational group, with 45 deaths, came in second. Construction laborers had 8 deaths, followed by roofers with 7 deaths. Also in this category are carpenters, drywall and ceiling tile installers, and highway maintenance workers (Table 4).

Table 4. CT Fatal Occupational Injuries by Occupation

Nationally, the transportation and material moving occupational group and the construction and extraction occupational group accounted for 47 percent of worker deaths in 2018. Transportation and material moving occupations lost 1,443 workers and construction and extraction occupations lost 1,003 workers. Logging workers had a high rate of 97.6 (56 deaths), followed by fishers and related fishing workers with a rate of 77.4 (30 deaths).

Identifying Work-Related Deaths
The CFOI (Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries) program requires a minimum of two sources to verify a work-related death. The media is often the first notice of a work-related death. Other resources include death certificates, coast guard reports, the NHTSA (National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration), and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

While every attempt is made to capture every work-related death, some are missed. The CFOI program uses diverse state, federal, and independent data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries. This ensures counts are as complete and accurate as possible.

It is important to note that the Bureau of Labor Statistics holds all information on companies and the deceased in strict confidence. Information is never shared for compliance measures.

OSHA requires all employers to report workplace fatalities within eight hours. Included are small establishments and industries that are normally exempt from OSHA jurisdiction. Natural deaths, such as heart attacks, must also be reported. However, many employers are unaware of this requirement. Additionally, OSHA does not require employers to report all fatalities. Employers are not required to report:

  • Street and transportation deaths unless they occur in a construction work zone
  • Deaths on commercial or public transportation systems (airplane, subway, bus, train, etc.)
  • Deaths occurring more than 30 days after the incident

OSHA does not investigate every work-related death. Homicides and most transportation incidents fall outside OSHA‘s jurisdiction. However, OSHA is beginning to investigate some of these incidents to develop training programs. Homicides may be prevented with changes in security cameras and enforcing safety rules. Transportation deaths can be prevented with training programs on distracted driving, sleep deprivation, and safe driving techniques.

History of the Program
When President Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) into law, a census of work place fatalities did not exist. It was estimated that approximately 14,000 workers were killed on the job annually. While OSHA immediately began investigating workplace deaths, the U.S. Department of Labor did not have a comprehensive statistical program dedicated to documenting workplace deaths.

In 1992, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) was established to track all work-related deaths and collect the much needed data. That first year, 6,217 deaths were documented nationally, 42 of which were in Connecticut. Since then, national numbers have dropped by 16 percent to 5,250 deaths in 2018.

Since 1992, the CFOI program has seen several changes. Prior to 2006, rates were calculated per 100,000 workers. Now the rates take into account the number of hours spent in the workplace, resulting in rates per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The coding structure for nature, part of body, event, and sources was changed in 2011. In 2012, the program began documenting contractor status, the use of drugs or alcohol, seat belt use, and union status.

Most recently, there has been a change in the release of data. Formerly, a preliminary release was made in August or September with revised, final data published in April of the following year. Beginning with the 2015 reference year, final data is now released in December – 4 months earlier than in past years. This December release is the only release of CFOI data.

The program continues to develop to meet needs of researchers. Hopefully the data will continue to be used to create engineering solutions, regulations, and education programs to minimize work place deaths.

State of Connecticut Department of Labor Archived Connecticut's Work-Related Fatalities Articles

Connecticut's 2017 Work-Related Fatalities - Below Annual Average
Connecticut's Work-Related Fatalities in 2016
Connecticut's Work-Related Fatalities in 2015
Connecticut's Work-Related Fatalities, 1992-2014

Other Monthly
Current Connecticut Labor Situation

Current Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Current Business and Employment Changes Announced in the News Media

Current Labor Market Information - At-A-Glance

Connecticut Help Wanted OnLine Data Series (HWOL)

State of Connecticut Department of Labor - Office of Research
200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109 / Phone: 860-263-6275
LMI Home | CTDOL Home | | Feedback | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Accessibility Policy
This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. (more)