Timely and detailed information about worker fatalities is critical for those who are seeking to prevent future deaths and to create policy and systems change. Because public access to information about workplace fatalities is very limited, National COSH and a coalition of worker health and safety groups are seeking to provide the greatest level of detail possible to the public. To that end, we created the U.S. Worker Fatality Database, which shows the names, people and stories behind the statistical reports of deaths on the job and from work-related illness.
WHAT'S IN THE DATABASE
In 2014, we released the largest open-access data set of individual workplace fatalities ever collected in the United States, documenting over 1,800 deaths due to traumatic injury on the job. In 2015, we are continuing to develop our database of individual workplace fatalities resulting from traumatic injuries and are adding a second database documenting workers who have died from work-related illnesses. Our mid-year data release documents 1,073 worker fatalities due to traumatic injury.
Please note that our data set is incomplete. According to preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, 4,679 workers died due to traumatic incidents on the job in 2014; based on recent trends we can expect similar fatality numbers for 2015. The U.S. Worker Fatality Database represents only a portion of these deaths, and it is not known how representative the sample represented in the Database is of all fatal workplace injury victims.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
To report an on-the-job fatality, or a fatality from long-term exposures to workplace hazards, please access our forms (which are in both English and Spanish). If you would like to participate in this collaboration or have questions about the project, please contact Jessie Cruz, Katelyn Parady or Peter Dooley.
DATA SOURCES AND METHODS
All data rely on reports from victims’ families, the media, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Inconsistencies in victim age, location of death, employer, etc., were often found when multiple sources were used to document a fatality. Generally, the most recent and complete source was used to resolve inconsistencies, but some discrepancies and duplicate information errors may persist.
Employer variables were not uniformly collected. Some data sets listed the direct employer of the victim first, then the contractor of the direct employer, while others listed the contractor first and direct employer after. Similarly, industry variables were collected in different manners, and industries were named at different NAICS levels. Users are encouraged to visit source websites to learn more.
A small number of cases were reported to be non work-related. These cases were frequently death from cardiac arrest. The data editors have included these cases as possibly work-related given the pervasive under-diagnosis and under-reporting of work-related illnesses in the United States.