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Troubling news in BLS report on worker fatalities

On the job fatalities in 2014 rose to 4,679, an increase of 2 percent over the 4,585 fatal work injuries in 2013, according to a preliminary report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Drilling down to the industry and occupation, type of incident, and worker characteristics reveal some troubling trends that are noteworthy for employers:

The data is preliminary; a final report is expected this coming spring. In the past five years, the number of fatalities in the final report increased by an average of 173 cases over the preliminary count. If this pattern holds, the total number of workplace deaths in 2014 could be the highest in five years.

Employer takeaway: While the total numbers may seem low, one workplace fatality is devastating for any employer. This information can help employers understand who is most at risk.