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Fatal work injuries on the rise

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Workers in New Jersey and across the county may face the risk of a work-related injury or death. According to the federal government, there were 5,190 fatal injuries in this country in 2021, which was an 8.9% rise from the 4,764 deaths reported in 2020.

Key findings

A worker died from a work-related injury every 101 minutes in the U.S. in 2021. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, released in December, demonstrates the importance of workers’ compensation benefits such as death benefits for workers and their families

According to the BLS, the fatal work injury rate in 2021 was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. The rate was 3.4 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2020.

Causes and groups

Fatalities from harmful substances or environment caused 798 worker deaths in 2021 — the highest number since 2011. Fatalities from these causes had the largest increase in 2021 as they rose 18.8% from 2020.

Deaths from acts of human and animal violence rose 7.9 % from 705 in 2020 to 761 in 2021. Intentional injuries caused by a person is the largest subcategory and grew by 10.3% to 718 in 2021.

Women comprised 8.6% of all workplace deaths but represented 14.5% of intentional injuries in 2021. Workers between 45 and 54 had 1,087 workplace deaths and suffered a little more than one-fifth of all worker fatalities for 2021.


Transportation and material workers had a series high of 1,523 fatal injuries in 2021, the highest number for any group. This was an 18.8% increase from 2020.

Transportation incidents continued to be the most frequent type of fatal accident in 2021 with 1,982 deaths which represented an 11.5% increase from one year earlier. This category also had 38.2% of all work-related deaths in 2021. However, transportation incidents had a 6.6% drop from the 2,122 deaths in 2019.

Deaths attributed to trips, slips and falls rose by 5.6% in 2021 to 850 compared to the 805 fatalities in 2020. These accidents that occurred in the construction and extraction occupations constituted 370 of these deaths in 2021 which was a 7.2% rise from 2020. This, however, is a 9.3% drop from 2019 when there were 408 deaths from these accidents.

Workers who suffer a work-related injury may face obstacles when seeking workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey. Attorneys can assist injured workers and their families seek benefits.