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8 Shocking Workplace Injury Statistics

In 2019 alone, 5,333 fatal occupational injuries occurred in the US. That represents a 2% jump from the previous year’s count of 5,250 workplace fatalities. That’s also the highest recorded number since 2007.

Those workplace injury statistics are shocking enough, but they barely scratch the surface. This guide will delve deeper into the facts and stats of occupational hazards, so be sure to read on.

1. About 2.8 Million Non-Fatal Job Injuries and Illnesses Reported in 2019

That puts the incidence rate at 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent employees. Worse, those figures only apply to private workers. It doesn’t include public and government sectors.

Do note that 2018 had a similar illness and injury rate. It may seem like a relief that no increase happened, but it also means there has been no improvement.

2. Work Injuries Cost the US $171 Billion in 2019

Of that $171 billion, 34% ($59.7 billion) was for admin expenses, and 31% ($53.9 billion) was for wage and productivity losses. About a fifth ($35.5 billion) was for medical costs, $5 billion for motor vehicle damage, and $3.7 billion for fire losses. There’s also the $13.3 billion lost due to uninsured expenses.

3. Each OSH Act Violation Can Cost Up to $70,000 in Fines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The OSH Act, in turn, codifies the rights of employees to a safe work environment. Both OSHA and the OSH Act came into existence in 1970.

As a federal regulatory agency, OSHA has the power to penalize employers who go against the OSH Act. These include fines, ranging from $5,000 up to $70,000 for each violation. Employers can also face jail time for more severe OSH Act violations.

Note that each state has its own employment laws, separate violations, and penalties. That’s why violating employee rights can easily make a business go bankrupt.

4. The Majority of Work Injuries and Illnesses Are Preventable

When the OSH Act was first signed into law, 38 workers got killed on the job each day. This has then dropped to 14, representing a decrease of more than 50%. The occupational injury rate has also shrunk considerably.

That alone proves how preventable workplace injuries and illnesses are. Previous research even demonstrated that more than 99% of accidents are preventable.

For instance, safety harnesses could prevent most, if not all, fall accidents. This is especially true in the construction sector, where most fall accidents occur.

Another example is proper equipment maintenance, which is key to preventing injuries. Do note that in 2019, the manufacturing sector reported 15,380 wound injuries. Many of these cuts, punctures, and lacerations were due to faulty machines.

Even the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) can keep injuries and illnesses at bay. Goggles, face masks, and respiratory protection can protect from airborne particles. Face shields can also prevent debris from injuring the eyes or face.

5. Over 1,000 Construction Workers Died in 2019

Of the 5,333 US workers who died in 2019, a total of 1,061 worked in the construction sector. That means one in five of all occupational fatalities occurred in this sector alone.

What’s more, three of the top five OSHA violations applied to the construction sector, too. These include citations for fall protection, scaffolding, and ladders.

6. Almost a Dozen Work Days Lost Due to Job Injuries

Aside from the costs of treating job injuries, there’s also the cost of lost productivity. For starters, each injured worker in the US loses an average of 11 workdays. As that’s only the average, it means half of the other injured employees are absent from work even longer.

Both employers and employees lose a lot from all those days away from work. For starters, employers suffer from productivity losses, which then hurts their bottom line.

On the other hand, injured or ill employees deal with pain and suffering. Some workers even develop mental health issues due to their job injury or illness. Some can experience post-injury anxiety, depression, or even both.

7. Worker’s Compensation Is Mandatory in 49 States and DC

As of 2017, over 140 million US workers had workers’ compensation coverage. Workers’ comp, after all, is compulsory for most private businesses in all states but Texas. Despite being optional, most Texan employers still get it for their employees.

If not for workers’ comp, an employer could become liable for a worker’s job injury or illness. They could even face legal liabilities if their employees sue them. What’s more, they could face hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in medical and legal costs.

Despite those risks, some employers still choose not to get their workers insured. These are violations of the law, so non-compliant employers can face hefty fines. Their business license may also get revoked, or worse, they may even get imprisoned.

8. Denials of Worker’s Comp Claims Have Gone Up

In 2017, insurers rejected as many as 7% of worker’s comp claims. According to experts, many of these denials were in the hopes of reducing costs on the insurers’ part. However, such schemes didn’t work out, as two in three claims ended up still getting paid.

What’s more, the insurance companies had to pay about $5,000 more than the original payout amount.

If your employer or their workers’ comp insurer denies your valid claim, don’t give up. You can file a formal appeal with the help of an experienced workers comp attorney. This workers compensation guide contains tips that can help you choose such a lawyer.

Don’t Underestimate These Workplace Injury Statistics

Granted, some of the workplace injury statistics cited above are estimates. However, they come from available factual data and studies that make them on-point. At the very least, they prove how costly preventable job injuries and illnesses are.

With that said, be sure to use this knowledge so that you can stay safe from common workplace injuries.

Interested in more business, health, and safety guides like this? Then please feel free to check out our other latest news and blog posts!

About Ambika Taylor

Myself Ambika Taylor. I am admin of For any business query, you can contact me at [email protected]