Workplace Injury & Fatality Statistics

Occupational Injury and Fatality Statistics

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety at home and in the workplace. Founded in 1994 as a cooperative effort by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ESFI is funded by voluntary contributions from electrical manufacturers, distributors, independent testing laboratories, retailers, insurers, utilities, safety organizations, and trade and labor associations.

To better promote electrical safety in the workplace, ESFI provides statistical data on occupational electrical injuries and fatalities to help decision-makers better allocate safety resources for maximum impact. Our work builds on earlier work by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), providing new information on electrical incidents as it becomes available. The data in our reports cover U.S. occupational electrical accidents, including the total number of electrical injuries and fatalities, the industries and occupations in which they occurred, and the rates of electrical injury and fatality for selected industries.

Statistics 2003 - 2020

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) uses the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and Survey of Occupational Injuries (SOII) to distill information specifically pertaining to fatal and nonfatal occupational electrical injuries. Each year the ESFI publishes electrical injury information in tabular and graphical form on our website. The most recent data covers the 29 year period from 1992-2020 but mainly focuses on 2011-2020 data. 

  • There were 126 electrical fatalities in 2020. A 24% decrease over 2019 and the lowest number of electrical fatalities recorded (recording started in 2003)
    • There was a 10% drop in total hours worked in the United States in 2020
  • Contact with / Exposure to electric current accounted for 2.6% of all fatalities in 2020. This is a 19% drop from 2019 and a return to 2017 levels.
  • Electrical fatality rates were 0.09 fatalities per 100,000 workers (22% drop from 2019) in 2020, the rate for all fatalities was 3.5 per 100,000 workers in 2020, slightly above the 2019 rate.
  • The mining industry had the highest rate of fatal electrical injuries (0.8 / 100,000) followed by the construction industry (0.6 / 100,000) in 2020. All industries had 0.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers.
  • In 2020, 5.3% of all electrical incidents were fatal.
  • The number of electrical fatalities varies between ages
    • 7% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 20 – 24
    • 33% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 25 – 34
    • 21% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 34 – 44
    • 18% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 45 – 54
    • 17% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 55 – 64
  • Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 40% of electrical fatalities. A 24% increase over 2019. Hispanic or Latino workers account for 18% of the workforce.
  • “Constructing, Repairing, Cleaning” accounted for the leading worker activity for electrical fatalities at 64%. “Using or Operating Tools, Machinery” accounted for 22% of electrical fatalities.
  • 33% of all electrical fatalities occurred at a private residence. Industrial places and premises accounted for another 31% of fatalities. Streets and highway accounted for 13%, public buildings accounted for 8%, and farm for 7%
  • Occupations involved in electrical fatalities:
    • Construction and Extraction Occupations: 44%
    • Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations: 20%
    • Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations: 13%
    • Transportations and Material Moving Occupations: 6%
    • Management Occupations: 5%
    • Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations: 3%
  • Private industry accounted for 154 (94%) of the electrical fatalities.
  • There were 2,220 non-fatal electrical injuries involving days away from work. This was a 17% increase over 2019 and returning to the same levels as 2017.
  • 0.19% of all nonfatal injuries resulting in days away from work could be attributed to electricity during 2020. In 2019, 0.21% could be attributed to electricity. A total of 1,176,340 workplace injuries occurred in 2020, of these cases, 33.2 percent (390,020 cases) were categorized as other diseases due to viruses not elsewhere classified, which includes reported COVID-19-pandemic related illnesses.
  • Age of worker involved in non-fatal electrical injury:
    • 16 – 19 years old: 2%
    • 20 – 24 years old: 22%
    • 25 – 34 years old: 24%
    • 35 – 44 years old: 22%
    • 45 – 54 years old: 16%
    • 55 – 64 years old: 7%
    • 65 years and over: 1%
  • 13% of electrical injuries occurred in Hispanic or Latino workers, compared to 40% of fatalities
  • Occupation of worker involved in non-electrical injury:
    • Installation, Maintenance, and Repair: 31%
    • Service: 25%
    • Construction and Extraction: 21%
    • Production: 11%
    • Transportation and Material Moving: 5%
    • Management, Business, Financial: 2%
    • Sales and related: 1%
    • Healthcare Practitioners and Technical: 1%
    • Computer, Engineering and Science: 1%
    • Office and Administrative Support: 1%
  • 65% of fatalities occurred in service providing industries while 35% occurred in good producing industries
  • Length of service with employer when injury occurred:
    • Less than 3 Months: 26%
    • 3 Months to 11 Months: 10%
    • 1 year to 5 Years: 32%
    • More Than 5 Years: 31%
  • Days when non-fatal electrical injury occurred:
    • Sunday: 3%
    • Monday: 11%
    • Tuesday: 33%
    • Wednesday: 14%
    • Thursday: 27%
    • Friday: 4%
    • Saturday: 8%
  • Hours worked when non-fatal injury occurred:
    • Less than 1 hour: 2%
    • 1 – 2 Hours: 9%
    • 2 – 4 Hours: 15%
    • 4 – 6 Hours: 32%
    • 6 – 8 Hours: 10%
    • 8 – 10 Hours: 4%
    • 10 – 12 Hours: 1%
    • Not Reported: 27%
  • The median number of days away from work for nonfatal electrical injuries was 3 in 2020, a 66% decrease from 2020.
    • Median days away from work:
      • Direct Exposure to Electricity, 220 Volts or less: 3
      • Direct Exposure to Electricity, Greater than 220 Volts: 7
      • Indirect Exposure to Electricity, 220 Volts or Less: 5
      • Indirect Exposure to Electricity, Greater than 220 Volts: 0
    • The industries with the leading number of nonfatal electrical injuries:
      • Construction: 20%
      • Accommodation and Food Services: 22%
      • Wholesale Trade: 17%
      • Manufacturing: 14%
    • Electrical shocks accounted for 1,610 of the non-fatal electrical injuries while burns accounted for 620.

Background

ESFI’s occupational electrical injury and fatality information has been compiled from data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Each year the BLS performs its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) – an actual count, or census, of fatal injuries. Each case is verified by two or more independent sources of information. Such sources can include death certificates, police reports, news reports, OSHA reports, etc. Similarly, to estimate the number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses, the BLS performs its Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. Nonfatal injuries, due to their sheer number, are statistically estimated based on a large annual survey of injuries reported by employers.

Most Recent Reports

Historical Reports

Discussion - Injury Rates

Rates of electrical injury normalize the data for exposure to a hazard, thus better describing the hazard to a particular group. For example, rates allow direct comparison between industries or occupational groups of different sizes.

The rates of electrical injury shown in the figures as follows:

(Incidents / Employment) x Multiplier

where incidents are the total fatal or nonfatal electrical accidents for a given group, employment is the total number of workers who are members of the group, and the multiplier is 100,000 workers for fatal injuries or 10,000 workers for nonfatal injuries

Facts and Figures

The most recent occupational electrical injury and fatality data covers the period from 1992-2020 , but mainly focuses on 2003-2020 data.

Download Workplace Electrical Injury and Fatality Statistics, 2003-2020, which includes the following tables and figures:

  • Table 1 – Total fatalities from all causes, 2003–2020. Shows all causes of occupational fatality by Event code. The Events that caused occupational fatality are rank-ordered by total number of fatalities. This table includes all fatalities to workers over the age of 16 in private industry, military personnel, the self-employed, and government employees.
  • Table 2 – Nonfatal electrical injuries involving days away from work, Private Industry, by Event, 1992–2020. This table includes nonfatal injuries that occurred from 1992 to 2020 for trending purposes. The totals and percentages reflect the period from 1992 to 2020.
  • Table 3 – Median number of days away from work for nonfatal electrical injuries, by Event, 2011–2020. This table includes results from 2011 to 2020 for trending purposes. The totals and percentages reflect the entire period from 2011 to 2020.
  • Table 4 – Fatal electrical injuries by selected worker characteristics, all U.S., all ownerships, 2011–2020. This table depicts the total number of fatal electrical injuries by year versus employment status, gender, age, race, source of injury, nature of injury, part of body, worker activity, location, occupation, and industry.
  • Table 5 – Nonfatal electrical injuries by selected worker characteristics, all U.S., private industry, 2011-2020. This table depicts the total number of nonfatal electrical injuries involving days away from work by year versus gender, age, occupation, length of service, race, number of days away from work, industry, nature of injury, part of body, source of injury, day of week, time of day, and number of hours worked before injury occurred.
  • Table 6 – Nonfatal electrical shocks by selected worker characteristics, all U.S., private industry, 2011-2020. This table depicts the total number of nonfatal electrical shock injuries involving days away from work by year versus gender, age, occupation, length of service, race, number of days away from work, industry, nature of injury, part of body, source of injury, day of week, time of day, and number of hours worked before injury occurred.
  • Table 7 – Nonfatal electrical burns by selected worker characteristics, all U.S., private industry, 2011-2020. This table depicts the total number of nonfatal electrical burn injuries involving days away from work by year versus gender, age, occupation, length of service, race, number of days away from work, industry, nature of injury, part of body, source of injury, day of week, time of day, and number of hours worked before injury occurred.
  • Figure 1 – Fatality by Events, 2003 – 2020
  • Figure 2 – Nonfatal Electrical Injuries Involving Days Away from Work by Event Private Industry 1992 – 2020
  • Figure 3 – Number of Nonfatal Electrical Injuries Private Industry Electrical Shocks and Burns 2003 – 2020
  • Figure 4 – Fatality Rates for All Events vs Electrical Events All Ownerships 2003 – 2020
  • Figure 5 – Rates of Nonfatal Electrical Injury Involving Days Away from Work for Selected Industries by Event Private Industry 2003 – 2020
  • Figure 6 – Electrical Fatalities by Age Group as a Percentage of Fatalities from All Events All ownerships 2011– 2020
  • Figure 7– Rate of Nonfatal Electrical Shock Injury Involving Days Away from Work for Selected Industries Private Industry 2003 – 2020
  • Figure 8 – Rate of Nonfatal Electrical Shock Injury Involving Days Away from Work for Selected Industries Private Industry 2003 – 2020
  • Figure 9 – Electrical Fatalities v. Total Hours Worked, All Ownerships, 2011 – 2020
  • Figure 10 – Electrical Injuries v. Total Hours Worked, All Ownerships, 2011 – 2020

Download these additional charts and graphs related to occupational electrical injuries and fatalities for the period 2003-2020

Summary

The Electrical Safety Foundation International has compiled the occupational electrical injury experience of the major industries and occupations from data available through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period 2003 through 2010.

A total of 42,882 occupational fatalities occurred from all causes and 1,738 of those were due to contact with electric current. The construction industry had the highest number of electrical fatalities (849), followed by professional and business services (208), trade, transportation, and utilities (182), natural resources and mining (154), and manufacturing (137). Just five occupations in the construction trades – electricians, construction laborers, roofers, painters, and carpenters – experienced more than 32% of all electrical fatalities, electrical power line installers and repairers about 8%, and tree trimmers about 5%.

All of the 163 electrical fatalities during 2010 were men; the self-employed were about 22% of all occupational deaths but only 19% of electrical deaths; nearly 68% were white, less than 6% were black, 24% were Hispanic; 98% died of electrocution; 63% were constructing, repairing or cleaning something at the time of death; 34% died on industrial premises, 28% at a private residence, and nearly 12% on a street or highway, and; 96% were employed in private industry.

In order to fairly compare industries and occupations with different numbers of employees (hence different total exposures to electrical hazards) rates of fatal and nonfatal electrical injury were computed. It was shown that electrical fatalities were approximately 4% of all occupational fatalities each year between 2003 and 2010. “Contact with overhead power lines” was the leading fatal injury Event for the period, but was a minor source of nonfatal electrical injury. “Contact with wiring, transformers, or other electrical components”, “Contact with electric current of machines, tools, appliances or light fixtures”, and “Contact with electric current, unspecified” were the next largest fatal Event categories, respectively.

Workers in four industries, utilities, mining, construction, and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting experienced electrical fatality rates in excess of the rate Private Industry rate every year between 2003 in 2010. Utility and construction workers also experienced nonfatal electrical injury rates in excess of the Private Industry rate each year between 2003 and 2010.

Learn more in our resource: Electrical Safety Then and Now – Twenty Years of Electrical Injury Data Shows Substantial Electrical Safety Improvement, which discusses some of the more interesting patterns observed in occupational electrical injury and fatality statistics for 1992-2010.