The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced some good news. According to the BLS, fatal workplace injuries in the U.S. dropped 10.7 percent in 2020.
The total number of American workers killed that year was 4,764. That sad total represents a significant drop from 2019 when 5,333 Americans died of work-related injuries. It’s also the fewest deaths in a single year since 2013.
Digging into the data
Black workers enjoyed an especially large improvement in 2020. The number of Black workplace fatalities dropped 14.7 percent year-over-year. But Latinx workers went up to 4.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, up from 4.2 per 100,000 FTEs in 2019. And though the total number of deaths was the lowest it had been in seven years, a worker still tragically died every 111 minutes in the U.S.
Still, overall the numbers are encouraging. We’ll have to see if this happened due to pandemic lockdowns and the recession temporarily reducing the number of potential work accidents or part of a larger trend of safer workplaces.
Who is most at risk?
Nearly half the fatalities came in the construction, transportation, material moving and extraction industries. These are dangerous jobs that tend to rank at the top of workplace injury and death lists every year. Despite safety precautions, workers in these industries are always in a certain amount of danger.
When a worker in the Twin Cities dies on the job, they usually leave behind a family that loved them and relied on their income. Minnesota provides workers’ compensation benefits for spouses and dependant children. These benefits can help grieving families avoid financial catastrophe.