Number Of Work-Related Fatalities In State Sees Double-Digit Drop For Second Consecutive Year

Monday, January 27, 2014

Total fatalities and days away from work as a result of injuries and illnesses were both improved, according to a workplace safety report just released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.


The 100 fatal work-related injuries recorded in Tennessee during 2012 represented a 17 percent decrease from the 120 recorded during 2011, according to the 2012 Tennessee Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and The Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey collected by the Tennessee Department of Labor and the U.

S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 120 total for 2011 was a decline from 138 in 2010.


The 2012 total of 100 fatalities was the lowest total for the state during the previous 10 years and was significantly below the 10-year average. Fatal occupational injuries from 2003 to 2012 averaged 133. The fatality total of 100 recorded during 2012 is a 25 percent decrease over that number.


Of the 100 fatalities counted, 82 occurred to wage and salary workers and 18 to self-employed persons. Men sustained 92 fatalities and women eight.


Other key findings of the 2012 Tennessee Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

·         Fatal injuries due to contact with objects and equipment decreased 33 percent from 24 in 2011 to 16 in 2012.

·         Fatal injuries due to fire and explosions decreased 70 percent from 10 in 2011 to three in 2012.

·         Transportation incidents led the category of kind of event resulting in death at 34 percent of fatal injuries in Tennessee. The second leading cause of worker fatalities was due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals.

·         Fifteen percent of fatal injuries occurred during the month of October, the most for any month, and five percent were in June, the fewest number for any month.

·         Twenty-four percent of fatal injuries happened on a Monday, and five percent were on a Sunday.


For the second consecutive year, the Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey found the OSHA recordable injury and illness rate for Tennessee to be 3.5 in the public sector (the rate is equivalent to the number of occupational injuries and illnesses greater in severity than first aid cases per 100 full-time workers, 40 hours per week x 50 weeks per year). The 3.5 rates for the past two years are the lowest rates since records have been kept (1972).


Additional Injuries and Illnesses Survey results:

·         The construction industry in Tennessee had the greatest decrease in occupational injury and illness rates, going from a rate of 3.7 in 2011 to 2.7 in 2012 or a 27 percent decrease in recordable injuries/illnesses.

·         Workers between the ages of 35 and 54 experienced 51 percent of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work in Tennessee during 2012.

·         The most common type of an occupational injury or illness that resulted in a days-away-from-work case – making up 41 percent of all recordable occupational injuries and illnesses – was the result of a sprain, strain or tear.


The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries is an actual count of every fatality in Tennessee that occurs in the workplace or is work related and includes agriculture workers, self-employed persons, work-related traffic fatalities, employees in small establishments, and government employees. Fatalities that occur during a person’s commute to or from work are excluded from the Census. Data are available by worker characteristic, type of incident, industry, and occupation.


The Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey collects data from employer-maintained records. Detailed information can be selected including incidence rates by industry sector, days away from work by day of week and age group, part of body affected, and nature of injury or illness.


The results of the survey are used in measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of the Tennessee and federal Occupational Safety and Health Acts in reducing work-related injuries and illnesses. The TOSHA Consultative Services division is available to employers to evaluate or create workplace safety programs; contact Consultative Services at 615/741-2793.


The 2012 Tennessee Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and The Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey, including charts and tables, is available on the Tennessee Department of Labor Website. Additional information can also be obtained by calling 615/741-1749800/778-3966, or e-mailing the Division Supervisor at

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