25 Workplace Injury Statistics for a Safer 2024

By Dusan Vasic

February 6, 2024

While some workplaces are more dangerous than others, any workplace can be hazardous. Every year, millions of workers get injured on the job, and many of these injuries are severe. The cost of workplace injuries is huge, not just in terms of medical expenses but also in terms of lost productivity and lost wages. 

Keep reading our workplace injury statistics to find out how often these accidents occur and what the most common ways workers get hurt are. 

Top Work Injury Stats – Editor’s Choice:

  • In 2020, there were 3.2 million workplace injuries and illnesses in the US. 
  • Sprains, strains, and tears were the most common injuries, with 266,530 cases recorded in 2020.
  • Healthcare and social assistance was the most affected private sector, with 806,200 workers injured or sick. 
  • There were 4,764 workplace fatalities in 2020.
  • Most worker deaths happened in transportation incidents, with 1,778 cases recorded in 2020. 
  • The total economic cost of workplace accidents and fatalities in 2019 was estimated at $171 billion. 
  • The state with the most workplace fatalities in 2020 was Texas, with 469 cases. 
  • With 355,200 cases, California was the state with the most occupational injuries and illnesses in 2020.
  • OSHA’s most breached standard is for fall protection in construction.

General Work Injury Statistics

The latest Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of workplace injuries in 2020 was lower compared to the previous years, but does that mean workplace safety conditions in the US have improved and that the workers have become more safety-aware? Not exactly. The main reason for the drop in preventable workplace injuries and deaths can be found in the decreased number of working hours. The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the working hours by 9% for the latest survey period.

There were approximately 3.2 million recorded cases of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the US during 2020. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics) 

Workplace accidents, statistics inform us, resulted in days away from work in 62% of cases.  

Worldwide, about 340 million work-related accidents happen yearly. 

(International Labour Organization)

A further 160 million workers suffer illness at work.

In the private sector, 2.7 per 100 full-time workers suffered nonfatal injuries and illness. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics) 

Furthermore, 1.7 out of 100 workers had to take days away from work because of accidents or illness. 

The most common causes of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the private sector that resulted in days away from work were sprains, strains, and tears, with 266,530 cases recorded in 2020.

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)  

Workplace back injury statistics show that such accidents are common. They are followed by soreness and pain caused by work activities, fractures, while cuts, lacerations, and punctures are in a close third place. 

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common workplace injuries, accounting for 33% of all cases. 

(Thomas Marchese)

Water or oil spills, iced walkways and steps, cables, wrinkled rugs, and poor lighting are the main culprits of slips, trips, and falls, statistics tell us. Thankfully, they are also among the most easily preventable causes. 

Nonfatal injuries and illnesses were most common in healthcare and social assistance, affecting over 800,000 workers in these industries in 2020. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Other private sectors with high case numbers were manufacturing and retail trade. Statistics for retail show that 341,100 workers were sick or injured in 2020, along with 373,300 workers in manufacturing.  

Healthcare and social care are high-stress work environments with the highest injury rate – 5.5 per 100 workers. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Workplace safety statistics also list agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting as sectors with frequently occurring accidents – 4.6 per 100 workers. They’re followed by transportation and warehousing at 4 per 100.

Fires and explosions account for 3% of workplace injuries.

(Thomas Marchese)

Unfortunately, these types of incidents also have the highest casualty rate across workplace accidents. 

Workplace Death Statistics

Unfortunately, death is still part of workplace injury statistics, despite the improved safety regulations and protocols implemented to avoid preventable fatalities. The reason for hope is that fatal workplace accidents have declined from 2019.

In 2020, there were 4,764 fatal work injuries in the US. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

This is a 10.7% drop from the Bureau’s 2019 report, which recorded 5,333 deaths. Furthermore, this is the lowest annual number since 2013. 

The fatal work injury rate in 2020 was 3.4 per 100,000 full-time workers.

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

As mentioned, the work injury rates haven’t significantly declined. They merely reflect the fact there were fewer jobs and work hours in 2020 due to COVID-19. According to previous BLS workplace injury statistics, the rate in 2019 was 3.5 full-time workers per 100,000. 

One worker died in the US every 111 minutes in 2020. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics) 

This number may seem staggering, but it’s significantly lower than in the period before the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was implemented.

At 1,051, most fatalities were in the 55 to 64 age group. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics) 

The age group with the second-highest number of fatal workplace injuries are 45 to 54 year-olds. As the smallest portion of the US workforce, underage workers also had the fewest deaths – 26 in 2020.

At 1,778, transportation incidents were the leading cause of death for workers in 2020.

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Most often, these are roadway incidents involving a motorized land vehicle. Workplace fall statistics show that drops from higher elevations are also among the main causes of fatal occupational injuries.  

22% of all fatal work injuries were suffered by Hispanic or Latino workers.

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The Latin-American community in the US has seen increased rates of fatal work injuries. There were 1,088 deaths in 2019 and 1,072 in 2020. Despite the reduced work hours in 2020 and fewer preventable deaths, the rate actually increased by 2% since 2019.  

Workplace Injury Cost Statistics

It’s hard to estimate exactly what kind of an impact workplace injury had on each individual worker. However, the loss of work hours and wages are measurable indicators of the economic impact of occupational injuries.

The total economic cost of work-related injuries in 2019 amounted to $171 billion. 

(National Safety Council)

The total includes more than just worker compensation and insurance. The most significant elements of the economic cost are wage and productivity losses ($53.9 billion) and administrative expenses ($59.7 billion). Medical fees and employers’ uninsured costs stood at $35.5 billion and $13.3 billion, respectively. 

The average cost per worker was $1,100. 

(National Safety Council)

This figure represents the value of goods or services that each worker would have to produce to offset the cost caused by the accident.

The expenses for a medically consulted injury were $42,000, while the expenses of a fatal workplace accident stood at $1.22 million in 2019.

(National Safety Council)

These numbers include estimated wage losses, costs of medical treatments, and employer expenses minus the damage to property or vehicles. 

Injuries and fatalities in 2019 resulted in 70 million lost workdays. 

(National Safety Council)

However, if you include injuries that happened in the year before that prevented employees from attending work in 2019, the number of workdays lost rises to 105 million.

Workplace Injury Statistics by State

Texas had the highest number of fatal work injuries in 2020 – 469 recorded cases. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

This is still a significant drop compared to 2019, when 608 people lost their lives on their job. California comes in at a close second place with 463 cases, and Florida is third with 275 fatalities. 

The state with the highest number of work injuries and illnesses in 2020 was California, with approximately 355,200 cases. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

This is almost twice the number of cases recorded in Texas during the same year (178,600). Workplace accident stats place the state of New York in the third position with 129,000 cases.

States with the highest rates of nonfatal work injuries and illnesses are Maine, Vermont, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Minnesota. 

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Maine had the highest rate of cases, with 4.3 per 100 full-time workers. The second state on the list is Vermont, with 3.6 per 100. 

OSHA Injury Statistics

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a federal agency that regulates workplace safety. It also keeps a record of what safety regulations are most often breached. 

OSHA employs 1,850 inspectors. 


These inspectors are in charge of the health and safety of more than 130 million workers across approximately 8 million workplaces in the US. 

One compliance officer is in charge of approximately 70,000 workers. 


OSHA has 10 regional offices and 85 offices in local areas. The federal organization conducted approximately 33,000 federal and 42,000 state inspections in 2019.

Fall protection for construction workers is the most frequently breached OSHA standard. 


Apart from fall protection, OSHA workplace injury statistics show that the Hazard Communication standard, Respiratory Protection, general scaffolding requirements, and requirements for the use of ladders in construction are the most commonly breached OSHA standards. 

Since OSHA’s inception in 1970, worker deaths have dropped from 38 per day to 13 in 2020.


OSHA had a significant impact on the safety and health of the US workforce. After it was established, illnesses and the most common workplace injuries have dropped from 10.9 per 100 workers to 2.7 in 2020.

Closing Thoughts 

Safer work practices and adhering to regulations have helped reduce the numbers in workplace injury statistics. In addition to having a good insurance plan for your business, it’s important not to dismiss caution and best practices, no matter in what sector your business operates.


How many injuries are in 2020 in the workplace?

In 2020, there were 3.2 million cases of occupational injuries and illnesses in the US that weren’t fatal.

What percentage of injuries happen at work?

The rate of injuries and sickness in the US private sector is 2.7%.

What is the most common injury in the workplace?

OSHA’s slips, trips, and falls statistics show that these accidents are responsible for the majority of workplace injuries.

What is the most common workplace injury?

The most common workplace injuries are sprains, tears, and strains. Other injuries people frequently suffer on the job include soreness, pain, bone fractures, cuts, lacerations, and punctures.

What are some statistics on workplace safety and injuries?

The most tragic workplace injury statistics are related to the number of fatalities: In 2020, there were 4,764 instances recorded by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, the private sector had 2.7% of the workforce injured or sick during 2020.

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