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Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries


The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) compiles comprehensive and timely information on fatal work injuries occurring in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, to monitor workplace safety and to inform private and public health efforts to improve workplace safety. The Survey is administered by Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) in conjunction with participating state agencies. Key information about each workplace fatality is obtained by cross-referencing source records. For a fatality to be included in the census, the decedent must have been employed (that is working for pay, compensation, or profit) at the time of the event, engaged in a legal work activity, or present at the site of the incident as a requirement of his/her job. Fatalities that occur during a person's commute to or from work are excluded. Fatalities to volunteer workers who are exposed to the same work hazards and perform the same duties as paid employees are included.

Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Data Years Available: 
Mode of Collection: 
Selected Content: 
Information is collected about each workplace fatality, including occupation and other worker characteristics, equipment involved, and circumstances of the event.
Population Covered: 
All 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Data are compiled from various federal, state, and local administrative sources including death certificates, workers' compensation reports and claims, reports to various regulatory agencies, medical examiner reports, police reports, and news reports. Source reports are matched so that each fatality is counted only once. To ensure that a fatality occurred while the decedent was at work, information is verified from two or more independent source documents or from a source document and a follow-up questionnaire.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 
Interpretation Issues: 

The number of occupational fatalities and fatality rates is revised periodically. Fatalities that were initially excluded from the published count because of insufficient information to determine work relationship may subsequently be verified as work related and included in the revised counts and rates. (Increases in the published counts have averaged less than 1.5% of the annual total.) Starting with 2003 data, industries are classified using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Prior to 2003, the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and the U.S. Census Bureau's occupational classification system were used. There is limited comparability between the two systems because industry groupings are defined differently. Hence trend data by industry should be interpreted with caution.


National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States 2009: With Special Feature on Medical Technology. Hyattsville, Maryland. 2010; pg 448.