December 17, 2019
Contact: Office of Communications
Statement from OSHA Regarding Occupational Fatalities in 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Report, released today, shows the rate of fatal work injuries remained unchanged in 2018.
Tragically, unintentional overdoses at work increased by 12 percent—the sixth consecutive annual increase and a reflection of the broader opioid crisis that our nation is facing. To combat this problem, President Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a National Health Emergency. OSHA also teamed with the National Safety Council on the release of a toolkit to help employers address opioid abuse in their workplaces and support workers in recovery.
Suicide at work, which increased by 11 percent in 2018, is also a tragic public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on families, workplaces, and communities. OSHA created a new webpage with free and confidential resources to help identify the warning signs of suicide and to help users know who and how to call for help.
Today’s report also showed a 14 percent decline in work-related fatal falls from heights, the lowest total since 2013. Enforcement efforts helped abate more than 7,000 fall-related hazards in the construction industry.
"OSHA will continue to use BLS data for enforcement targeting within its jurisdiction to help prevent tragedies," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. "Inspections for OSHA were up, and we will work with state plans so employers and workers can find compliance assistance tools in many forms or call the agency to report unsafe working conditions. Any fatality is one too many."
Employers who need assistance in meeting their safety obligations can take advantage of OSHA’s no-cost and confidential On-Site Consultation Program. OSHA Training Institute Education Centers (OTIs) also provide training to workers, employers, and other safety professionals across the nation.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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Editor’s Note: The quote was edited for clarity.
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