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Workers Comp Fatality Statistics – BLS Provides Accurate Numbers


Workers Comp Fatality Statistics – Solid Governmental Numbers

I have used the Workers Comp fatality statistics and accident rate numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) since the late 1990s for marketing purposes.  The more dangerous the jobs, the more an employer needs to have assistance with their workers comp risk management.

The BLS’s accident and illness rates per 1,000 hours of work quickly became the gold standard for my marketing research and a few articles back in the early 2000s.  One of the most-read articles on this website was from a BLS article in 2014. 

I did not usually use the workers comp fatality statistics as a standalone number on safety.  When I read Mark Wall’s (VP – Safety National) article on WorkCompCentral yesterday, I decided to follow his article to the source material.   Yes, that method of following a press release to the article and then looking up the source material from the article is how I come up with many articles.

The BLS Press release can be found here.

Workers Comp Fatality Anomalies – Comparing 2020 to 2021

Chart 4 from the BLS press release breaks down the workers comp fatality rates by occupation.  I usually look for any anomalies – largest differences from each year.

chart workers comp fatality rates by occupation type
(c) BLS.gov

Fishing and Hunting Workers’ Rate Dropped Significantly

The Hunting and Fishing workers rate was reduced by 132.1 to 75.2  per 100,000 workers. (Table 4 in the BLS Press Release).   One has to ask why there was such a significant drop in hunting and fishing employees’ fatal accidents between 2020 and 2021.  Was the almost 50% drop due to the pandemic?

Looking at Table 2 in the same press release the numbers for the last five years are:

  • 2017    41
  • 2018    31
  • 2019    44
  • 2020   42
  • 2021    23

The hunting and fishing numbers show that it is one of the most dangerous occupations.  The average for the prior four years was 39.5,  One only has to look at the numerous offshore fishing boat television shows such as Deadliest Catch to see the extreme conditions this type of industry operates in on a daily basis.

Bottom Line on These Somber Rates

Thanks to Mark Walls, Insurance Thought Leadership, WorkCompCentral, and the BLS for providing the material that I reviewed for this article.   The BLS article is a five-minute read – totally worth it to review the workers comp fatality rates before and during the pandemic.



James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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