New Study Compares Fatal Work Injuries in U.S. and EU

Published July 10, 2014

In an effort to provide better information about fatal workplace hazards, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU), recently developed a comparison of fatal work injuries in the U.S. and the EU using data from calendar year 2010. According to the BLS article on the study, this work shows that a comparison is possible and will help identify areas for further comparisons and research in the future.

BLS made several adjustments to the U.S. data to make them comparable to the EU data, including excluding from the U.S. data fatal work injuries that occurred more than one year after the precipitating event or exposure; excluding suicides from the U.S. data; and limiting the comparison to private-sector wage and salary workers. In addition, comparisons for this study were limited to the main industry branches based on NACE, the EU’s industrial classification system. Since U.S. data are classified using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), BLS reclassified the U.S. data using a NACE-NAICS “crosswalk” and supplemental material provided by Eurostat.

BLS found that the total number of fatal work injuries in the main industry branches in 2010 was 2,530 for the U.S. and 3,353 for the EU. In 2010, the rate of fatal occupational injuries in the EU for the main industry branches was 2.8 fatalities per 100,000 employees. The rate for the equivalent of the main industry branches was 3.1 fatalities per 100,000 employees in the U.S.

According to BLS, notable differences in the data include:

  • 19.3 percent of fatal work injuries occurred in the manufacturing industry in the EU, compared with 14.9 percent in the U.S.
  • 1.4 percent of fatal work injuries occurred in the “accommodation and food service activities” industry in the EU, compared with 4.4 percent in the U.S.

“Future work and collaboration will provide better information about fatal workplace hazards and, ideally, lead to improvements in worker safety and health in both the United States and the European Union,” the article reads.

Read the full article.