Workplace deaths rose 8.9% in 2021 from the previous year, while the number of fatal work injuries rose only minimally over the same period, according to figures released Friday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The country saw a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries last year, up from 4,764 in 2020.
The number of fatal occupational injuries was 3.6 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, an increase from 3.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2020.
The 3.6 figure represents the highest annual rate of fatal occupational injuries since 2016, with 2019’s pre-pandemic rate at 3.5 per 100,000.
The BLS said a worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury last year.
The proportion of black workers fatally injured on the job hit a record high in 2021, rising from 11.4% of total fatalities in 2020 to 12.6% in 2021.
Black and Hispanic/Latino workers saw death rates in 2021 that were higher than the 3.6 for all workers.
The leading cause of workplace deaths was from transportation incidents, although the BLS noted that such incidents decreased 6.6% from 2019.
Women in 2021 accounted for 8.6% of all workplace fatalities but represented 14.5% of intentional injuries.
Deaths from workplace violence and other injuries increased by 7.9% in 2021 from 2020.
Another major highlight of the report concerned deaths from exposure to harmful substances, which caused 798 worker deaths in 2021, the highest number since 2011.
An upside to the report was that workplace suicides continued to decline, with 236 workplace suicides in 2021 compared to 259 in 2020, representing a decrease of 8.9%.