States Where You’re Most Likely to Die on the Job

A new report also shows which industries and occupations pose the greatest health risk. Find out more.

States Where You’re Most Likely to Die on the Job Photo (cc) by OakleyOriginals

Good news: Fewer people are dying on the job.

The fatality rate was 3.3 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2013, the latest year for which the AFL-CIO has analyzed data. That rate has fallen every year since 2010, when it was 3.6.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, which is the umbrella organization for U.S. unions, credits a federal law with the reduction in on-the-job deaths in its latest annual “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” report:

More than 510,000 workers now can say their lives have been saved since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which promised workers in this country the right to a safe job.

However, the AFL-CIO’s senior safety and health specialist, Rebecca Reindel, tells CBS News:

We’re seeing a slight decrease in overall fatality rate for workers in the United States, but we have not seen a decrease in the number of illnesses and injuries.

While 4,585 workers were killed on the job in the U.S. in 2013, almost 3.8 million were reported injured, according to the report. The total number of injuries is probably two to three times higher, however, because many injuries go unreported.

Men are at a much greater risk of death on the job than women. Men have a fatality rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to a female fatality rate of 0.5 deaths per 100,000 workers.

North Dakota was the deadliest state for workers in 2013, the third consecutive year:

  • North Dakota: fatality rate of 14.9 deaths per 100,000 workers (56 total)
  • Wyoming: 9.5 per 100,000
  • West Virginia: 8.6 per 100,000
  • Alaska: 7.9 per 100,000
  • New Mexico: 6.7 per 100,000

The safest states for workers are:

  • Hawaii: 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Washington: 1.7 per 100,000
  • Connecticut and Massachusetts: 1.8 per 100,000
  • New York and Rhode Island: 2.1 per 100,000

The deadliest industry sectors are:

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: fatality rate of 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Transportation and warehousing: 14 per 100,000
  • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction: 12.4 per 100,000

The deadliest occupations are:

  • Logging workers: fatality rate of 91.3 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Fishers and related fishing workers: 75 per 100,000
  • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: 50.6 per 100,000

The biggest causes of workplace deaths were:

  • Transportation incidents (particularly roadway crashes): about 41 percent of all fatalities (1,865 deaths)
  • Workplace violence (i.e., assaults and violent acts): 17 percent (773 deaths)

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Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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