Comparing fatal work injuries in the United States and the European Union

Source: William J. Wiatrowski, Jill A. Janocha, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, June 2014

This article uses workplace safety and health data for calendar year 2010 to compare fatal work injury counts and rates in the United States and the European Union.

In July 2012, at the special session on statistics at the Seventh United States–European Union Joint Conference on Occupational Safety and Health in Brussels, Belgium, representatives from (1) the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), both part of the U.S. Department of Labor; (2) the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and (3) Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU), discussed the potential for developing comparable data on workplace safety and health. Both the United States and the European Union capture and report data on worker safety, including information on fatal work injuries and nonfatal injuries and illnesses. However, differences in injury definitions, data sources, and collection techniques make data comparisons difficult. The representatives discussed these differences and recognized that the data are most comparable for fatal work injuries. At the close of the Conference, BLS and Eurostat agreed to produce a comparison of work-related fatal injury counts and rates, using data for calendar year 2010. This article summarizes the results of that comparison.