The number of fatal work injuries in Arkansas rose 6.1% in 2017 as fatal falls rose to their highest level 25 years and transportation accidents remain at the top occupational deaths, according to new data released on Dec. 18 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nationally, there were a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2017, down slightly from the 5,190 fatal injuries reported in 2016, BLS data shows. The fatal injury rate decreased to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.6 in 2016.
In Arkansas, the number of fatal work injuries rose from 68 in 2016 to 76 in 2017. Texas had the largest number of occupational deaths in 2017 at 534, down from 545 in 2016. Rhode Island had the fewest work fatalities at 8 in 2017, down one from the previous year. A total of 27 states had fewer fatal workplace injuries in 2017 than 2016, while 21 states and the District of Columbia had more.
Fatal falls across the U.S. were at their highest level in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), accounting for 887 or 17% of worker deaths. Transportation incidents remained the most frequent fatal event in 2017 with 2,077 or 40% of occupational fatalities. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals decreased 7% in 2017 with homicides and suicides decreasing by 8% and 5%, respectively.
Other key data show that fatalities incurred by non-Hispanic Black or African American workers and non-Hispanic Asian workers each fell by 10% from 2016 to 2017. Fatal occupational injuries in the private manufacturing industry and wholesale trade industry were the lowest since this series began in 2003.
Workplace fatalities in the private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry spike 26% to 112 in 2017 from a series low of 89 in 2016. Over 70% of these fatalities were incurred by workers in the oil and gas drilling industry.