In 2010, there were an estimated 139,064,000 civilian workers in the U.S. private and public sector employed labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey . Each day, many of these workers suffer injury, disability, and death from workplace incidents. In 2012, more than 4,383 U.S. workers died from occupational injuries. Although difficult to enumerate, annually about 49,000 deaths are attributed to work-related illnesses. In 2012, an estimated 3.8 million workers in private industry and state and local government had a nonfatal occupational injury or illness. In 2011 an estimated 2.9 million workers were treated in emergency departments for occupational injuries and illnesses, and approximately 150,000 of these workers were hospitalized (NIOSH, unpublished data, 2013).
Each year occupational injuries and illnesses cause employers, workers, and society to pay tremendous costs for workers’ compensation and other insurance, medical expenses, lost wages and productivity, and the personal and societal costs associated with day to day living for injured and ill workers. A recent economic analysis suggested that traumatic occupational deaths and injuries cost the nation $192 billion annually, including direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost wages and productivity (Leigh JP . Economic Burden of Occupational Injury and Illness in the United States. Millbank Quarterly 89(4):728-772.).
For more details, see Fatal Occupational Injuries and Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses or the Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational injury, illness, and fatality data. For more information on occupational illness-related deaths see Steenland K, Burnett C, Lalich N, Ward E, Hurrell J. Dying for work: the magnitude of U.S. mortality from selected causes of death associated with occupation. Am J Ind Med 2003; 43:461--82.