Violence in the Workplace - Federal Census: National Census 2001
A total of 8,786 fatal work injuries were reported in 2001, including fatalities related to the September 11th terrorist attacks, according to
the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. A total of 2,886 work-related fatalities resulted from the events of September 11th. Excluding these fatalities, the overall workplace fatality count was 5,900 for 2001.
Profile of fatal work injuries resulting from the September 11th attacks
Most of the more than 3,000 people killed were at work (as defined by the fatality census) in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, were on
business travel or were crew aboard the commercial airliners that crashed in Pennsylvania, New York City, and Virginia, or were involved in rescue
duties. The events of that day killed 2,886 workers from a wide range of backgrounds - janitors to managers, native and foreign-born workers, and the young and the old. (See tables A. and B.)
Seventy-eight percent of the 2,198 non-rescue workers killed in the World Trade Center were working in the finance, insurance, and real
estate industry. All of the 412 fatally injured rescue workers were killed at the World Trade Center; 99 percent worked for state and local government. Of the 125 workers killed at the Pentagon, 91 percent were civilian or military federal government employees. Of the 151 workers who were killed on the planes that crashed in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York City, 39 percent were employed in the services industry.
Of the rescue workers fatally injured, 335 were firefighters and 61 were police or detectives. Fifty percent of the other workers fatally
injured in the World Trade Center were employed as managerial or professional specialty workers. Forty-three percent of the workers fatally injured at the Pentagon were working in military occupations
and slightly less than half, 47 percent, were working in civilian managerial and professional specialty occupations.
Twenty five of the workers killed on the passenger airliners were flight attendants, 8 were pilots. The majority of the workers killed on the airliners, 69 percent, were in managerial and professional
Of the fatally injured workers in the World Trade Center, 66 percent were between the ages of 25 and 44, 9 percent were black, 10 percent were Hispanic, and 26 percent were women. Of those working in the
Pentagon office building, 54 percent were between the ages of 25 and 44, 33 percent were black, 4 percent were Hispanic, and 37 percent were women. Of the workers involved in the rescue efforts, 70 percent were between the ages of 25 and 44. Ninety-nine percent were male. Of the workers on the passenger airliners 62 percent were men, 7 percent
were black, and 5 percent were Hispanic.
Overall, two-thirds of the workers fatally injured on September 11th were over 34 years old and 23 percent were women. Almost 20 percent of
the workers were foreign-born.
Profiles of 2001 fatal work injuries excluding fatalities resulting from the September 11th attacks
Excluding the fatalities on September 11th, the overall workplace fatality count of 5,900 for 2001 was down slightly, less than 1 percent from 2000. Total employment also declined slightly in 2001. As a result, the occupational fatality rate was same in 2001 as in 2000, 4.3 fatalities per 100,000 employed.
The construction industry, with fatalities at their highest level since the fatality census was first conducted in 1992, continued to report
the largest number of fatal work injuries of any industry. From 2000 to 2001, decreases in fatalities from transportation incidents and job-related homicides were offset by increases in fatalities from falls and from electrocutions.
Profile of 2001 fatal work injuries (excluding September 11th) by type of incident
Fatalities resulting from transportation incidents decreased for the third year in a row, from 2,573 in 2000 to 2,517 in 2001. Highway incidents, however, increased about 3 percent from 2000 and continued
to be the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities. Fatal work injuries resulting from workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment also increased slightly in 2001. In contrast, the number of workers killed in non-highway incidents, aircraft incidents, and railway incidents decreased. Non-highway fatal incidents, which include tractor
and forklift overturns, were at their lowest levels since the census began in 1992.
Work-related homicides, at 639 (excluding fatalities resulting from September 11th), fell to their lowest levels since the census began; the record high was 1,080 in 1994. Homicides among technical, sales,
and administrative support workers decreased 14 percent to 203 fatalities. However, homicides increased sharply among workers in service occupations, which include police and detectives, food preparation workers, barbers, and hairdressers. The number of workplace suicides and fatal assaults by animals increased slightly.
Fatalities resulting from falls increased to 808 in 2001, a 10 percent rise over 2000 levels. This was the highest total since the fatality census began in 1992. Falls to lower levels increased by 39 to 698
in 2001. Falls on the same level increased by 28 to a ten-year high of 84 in 2001.
Fatal falls in the construction industry increased 13 percent from 2000 levels and accounted for over half of all fatal falls. Worker deaths resulting from electrocutions and from fires and explosions
increased to levels of the late 1990's after falling to a near 10-year low in 2000.
Profile of fatal work injuries by industry
While fatalities in the construction industry increased 6 percent in 2001 to a record high, fatalities in manufacturing decreased 10 percent
from 2000 to their lowest recorded level since the census began in 1992. Other industries showing decreases in work-related fatalities were
transportation and public utilities, wholesale trade, and retail trade. The decrease in retail trade fatalities was largely a result of the
decline in workplace homicides. Fatalities to workers in services remained relatively unchanged, while fatalities in agriculture, forestry
and fishing; finance, insurance, and real estate, and mining increased. Fatalities in government (excluding September 11th) increased 10 percent
Occupational fatality rates in 2001 were highest in the mining; agriculture; forestry and fishing; construction; and transportation industries. The fatality rate for the mining industry, which includes oil and gas extraction, remained at 30.0 fatal work injuries per 100,000 workers for the second year in a row, the highest fatality
rate. The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the second highest rate, at 22.8 fatalities per 100,000 employed. The private sector construction industry reported 13.3 fatalities per 100,000
employed, and the rate was 11.2 fatalities per 100,000 employed in the transportation industry.
Profile of fatal work injuries by occupation
Operators, fabricators, and laborers again recorded the largest number of fatal work injuries of any occupational group, accounting for more than one out of every three fatalities in 2001. However, the
number of fatalities in this occupational group dropped 4 percent for the second year in a row. Most of this decrease resulted from fewer
fatalities among motor vehicle operators, particularly truck drivers. There also were fewer fatalities among material moving equipment
operators, machine operators, and workers in railroad transportation and water transportation. Fatalities among handlers, equipment cleaners,
helpers, and laborers increased, mainly due to an increase in fatalities to construction laborers; fatalities to non-construction laborers decreased.
Service occupations showed an increase of 18 percent in fatalities, the highest percentage increase among the major occupation categories. Within this occupation group, police and detectives, including
supervisors, had the highest number of fatalities. Fatalities in personal service occupations increased from 37 in 2000 to 59 in 2001. Precision production, craft, and repair occupations showed
a small increase in the number of fatalities (3 percent). However, within this occupation group, fatalities in the extractive occupations (drillers and mining machine operators) increased from a
low of 47 in 1999 to match its 10 year high of 97 fatalities in 1993.
While fatalities to truck drivers declined by 6 percent, they continued to incur more workplace fatalities than any other individual occupation. Truck drivers reported a rate of 25.3 workplace
fatalities per 100,000 employed. Farm occupations had the second highest number of fatalities with 499 and rate of 27.9 fatalities, which increased from the previous year. Other occupations that typically
have large numbers of worker fatalities but showed decreasing fatalities in 2001 included timber cutters; groundskeepers and gardeners; and aircraft pilots.
Fatalities to workers in military occupations increased over 25 percent from 87 in 2000 to 110 in 2001 (excluding September 11th). Almost half
of these fatalities resulted from aircraft crashes. The occupational fatality rate for military occupations increased in 2001 to 9.3
fatalities per 100,000 employed.
Profile of fatal work injuries by demographic characteristics
Fatal injuries to Hispanic or Latino workers were up 9 percent, from 815 in 2000 to 891 in 2001 (excluding September 11th). This resulted
from a rise in Hispanic worker fatalities in the services and agriculture industries, rather than in construction as in prior years. Fatalities
to white (non-Hispanic) workers fell for the sixth year in a row; fatalities among black (non-Hispanic) workers fell for the second year in a row. Fatal work injuries to men were down slightly, although
fatalities to women increased by 5 percent over 2000. The number of occupational fatalities to workers aged 17 years and younger decreased
to 53 in 2001 from 73 in 2000. In 2001 fatalities to the self-employed were down by 5 percent to their lowest level recorded since 1992.
On average, about 16 workers were fatally injured each day during 2001. The total number of multiple fatality incidents (incidents that resulted in two or more worker deaths) decreased from 214 in 2000
to 197 in 2001. However, the total number of job-related deaths in multiple fatality incidents increased from 531 in 2000 to 563 in 2001 (excluding September 11th).
Profile of fatal work injuries by state and region
Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia reported fewer fatal work injuries in 2001 than in 2000. The number of work injuries also declined in 2 of the 4 census regions in 2001. For state results beyond those presented here, please contact the individual state agency responsible for the collection of CFOI data in that state. A list of those agencies, with telephone numbers, is provided in table 6.
Background of the program
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, part of the BLS occupational safety and health statistics program, provides the most complete count
of fatal work injuries available. The program uses diverse state and federal data sources to identify, verify, and profile fatal work injuries. Information about each workplace fatality (occupation and other worker characteristics, equipment being used, and circumstances of
the event) is obtained by cross-referencing source documents, such as death certificates, workers' compensation records, and reports to federal
and state agencies. This method assures counts are as complete and accurate as possible.
This is the tenth year that the fatality census has been conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The BLS fatality census is a federal/state cooperative venture in which costs are shared equally. Additional state-specific data are available from the participating agencies, listed in table 6.
Another BLS program, the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, profiles worker and case characteristics of nonfatal workplace injuries
and illnesses that result in lost worktime and presents frequency counts and incidence rates by industry. Copies of the news release on nonfatal
injuries and illnesses in 2000 are available from BLS by calling (202) 691-6179 or by accessing the website listed below. Incidence rates for 2001 by industry will be published in December 2002, and information on 2001 worker and case characteristics will be available in April 2003. For additional data, access the BLS Internet site:http://www.bls.gov/iif/.
To request a copy of BLS Report 961 which includes several articles and highlights 2000 fatality data, e-mail your address to CFOIstaff@bls.gov or write to Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2 Massachusetts
Avenue, NE, Room 3180, Washington, DC 20212.