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Oct 4 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) invites comments to OMB by November 3, 2022 regarding the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries provides policymakers and the public with comprehensive, verifiable, and timely measures of fatal work injuries. Data are compiled from various sources including Federal, State, and local governments, the private sector and individuals and include information on how the incident occurred as well as various characteristics of the employers and the deceased worker. This information is used for surveillance of fatal work injuries and for developing prevention strategies.
 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was delegated responsibility by the Secretary of Labor for implementing Section 24(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This section states that “the Secretary shall compile accurate statistics on work injuries and illnesses which shall include all disabling, serious, or significant injuries and illnesses . . .”

Prior to the implementation of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), the BLS generated estimates of occupational fatalities for private sector employers from a sample survey of about 280,000 establishments. Studies showed that occupational fatalities were underreported in those estimates as well as in those compiled by regulatory, vital statistics, and workers' compensation systems. Estimates prior to the CFOI varied widely, ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 fatal work injuries annually. In addition, information needed to develop prevention strategies were often missing from these earlier programs.

National data covering all 50 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. Territories have been compiled and published annually since 1992.

The CFOI compiles comprehensive, accurate, and timely information on work-injury fatalities needed to develop effective prevention strategies. The system collects information concerning the incident, demographic information of the deceased, and characteristics of the employer. Data are used to:

Develop employee safety training programs.
Develop and assess the effectiveness of safety standards.
Conduct research for developing prevention strategies.

In addition, state partners use the data to publish state reports, to identify state-specific hazards, to allocate resources for promoting safety in the workplace, and to evaluate the quality of work life in the state.

In 2019 and 2020, 5,333 (pre-pandemic) and 4,764 (pandemic) workers, respectively, lost their lives because of fatal work injuries. This official systematic, verifiable count mutes controversy over the various counts from different sources. The CFOI count has been adopted by the National Safety Council and other organizations as the sole source of a comprehensive count of fatal work injuries for the U.S. If this information were not collected, confusion over the number and patterns in fatal occupational injuries would hamper prevention efforts. By providing timely occupational fatality data, the CFOI provides safety and health managers the information necessary to respond to emerging workplace hazards.

During 2020, BLS national office responded to 148 requests for CFOI data from various organizations. (This figure excludes requests received by states for state-specific data.) In addition, the CFOI page of the BLS website averaged about 7,015 users per month in 2020.

National office staff also responded to numerous requests from safety organizations for staff members to participate in safety conferences and seminars. The CFOI research file, made available to safety and health groups, is being used by 12 organizations. Study topics include fatalities by worker demographic category (young workers, older workers, Hispanic workers); by occupation or industry (construction workers, police officers, firefighters, landscaping workers, workers in oil and gas extraction); by event (heat-related fatalities, fatalities from workplace violence, suicides, falls from ladders); or other research such as safety and health program effectiveness and the impact of fatality risk on wages. A current list of research articles and reports that include CFOI data can be found at: http://www.bls.gov/​iif/​publications.htm.

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm
BLS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202206-1220-001 Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-21463

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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