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Fatal Work Accidents At an All-Time High for Black Workers

By Augusta Saraiva

The rate of fatal work injuries rose to the highest level in five years in the US in 2021, while deaths among Black and Hispanic workers reached an all-time high, according to new data published on Friday. 

A worker welds a lawnmower frame.

The US registered 3.6 work-related deaths for every 100,000 workers in 2021, the Labor Department said. About 5,200 Americans died on the job last year, an 8.9% increase from 2020.

Black and Hispanic workers were especially susceptible to fatal injuries. Deaths among African Americans rose by more than one-fifth to an all-time high, and there was also a sharp increase among Latino workers. Together, those groups accounted for more than one-third of all workplace deaths in 2021.  

Incidents involving transportation and material-moving accounted for the biggest share of fatal injuries, roughly 40% of the total. The rate of workplace deaths in that category climbed by almost one-fifth to a record high.

Fatal incidents also increased from the previous year among roofers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, and iron and steel workers.

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