Deaths Increased in U.S. Manufacturing Industry in 2018

February 3, 2020

4 Min Read
Deaths Increased in U.S. Manufacturing Industry in 2018
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Workplace fatalities in U.S. manufacturing facilities jumped by about 13% during 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics’ (BLS) newest Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The number of deaths increased to 343 in 2018 from 303 recorded the previous year. 

Overall, 5,250 fatal on-the-job injuries were recorded in the United States during 2018, representing a 2% rise over the previous figure of 5,147 fatal injuries documented in 2017, according to the BLS data released last December. 

Nearly a third (106) of the fatal workplace injuries in American manufacturing operations stemmed from contact with objects and equipment. 83 deaths resulted from transportation incidents, 16 from fires and explosions, and 46 from falls, slips, and trips. 40 manufacturing workers died as a result of violence and other injuries by persons or animals. Exposure to harmful substances or environments claimed 50 lives. 

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Machinery was the second biggest primary source of fatal injuries in U.S. manufacturing operations (71 deaths) in 2018 behind incidents involving vehicles (92 deaths).  Among the types of equipment involved, material and personnel handling machinery was linked to 25 deaths, including five from powered conveyors and two from stacking machinery. 

The top five manufacturing industries with the most workplace fatalities during the year were: fabricated metal products (56), wood products manufacturing (48), food manufacturing (41), transportation equipment (33), and nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing. Food manufacturing operations saw a decline year-over-year decline from the 51 deaths recorded in 2017. 

Fatalities involving contact with objects and equipment in all types of U.S. workplaces witnessed a 13% increase last year, from 695 in 2017 to 786, Powder & Bulk Solids reported in an earlier article. Incidents where workers became caught in operational equipment increased by a staggering 39%.

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