More than 7000 people die at work every day

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 3.9.2017 13.36
Press release 114/2017
More than 7000 people die at work every day

Work is deadly for lots of people in the world. According to new updated calculations, 2.8 million fatal accidents occur at work yearly. This means that every day almost 7,700 persons die of work-related diseases or injuries. In 2014, the figure was estimated to be 2.3 million. The change depends on more accurate calculations, longer life expectancy and new data that has been utilised in the calculations.

The costs of accidents at work and work-related deaths amount to 3.9% of the GNP of the world. Already at the turn of the 2000s, the International Labour Organisation ILO estimated that these costs could be 4% of the GNP, and more accurate calculations have proved that the estimation was correct.  

The ILO’s published these figures in their latest updates on Sunday 3 September at the ILO World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. This was the fifth time these statistics were published. This time, too, the calculations were made in Finland. The latest calculations were made by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and checked in Singapore by the Workplace Safety and Health Institute and the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH). The earlier calculations had been made by Tampere University of Technology and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

 Globally the number or fatal accidents at work is approximately 380,000.  In Europe the number is 11,000.  Finland’s share of this is about 30 deaths per year due to accidents at work. The number of accidents at work causing at least four days’ absence from work is globally about 370 million, in Europe 11 million and in Finland 42,000. Since the beginning of the 2000s, the number of accidents at work has reduced both in Europe and in Finland.

In the global context, deaths due to occupational diseases form a much larger group than deaths due to accidents at work. Diseases of the circulatory system cause 31% of those deaths, work-related cancers 27% and diseases of the respiratory system 17%. Accidents at work are the fourth biggest group at 14%. Approximately 2,200 deaths are estimated to occur in Finland due to work-related diseases.

Occupational safety and health is needed in Asia

Global calculations show that most of work-related deaths occur in Asia. This can be explained by the fact that during recent years more and more industrial production has moved to Asia or been established there. Particularly the number of accidents at work has increased in Asia, whereas in Europe the total number of accidents at work has decreased. Industrial production has a significant impact on the number of accidents at work. In Europe, however, the share of work-related diseases is growing. Particularly work-related cancers cause deaths among the European population.

Global cost estimates of fatal occupational diseases and accidents at work by country were published for the first time in connection with these calculations.  These estimates are based on ILO’s calculations on fatal accidents at work and work-related diseases. Most of these cost estimates, too, have been produced in Finland, by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.


Every third year, the International Labour Organization ILO and the International Social Security Association ISSA organise a World Congress on Safety & Health. The congress is the biggest event in the field of occupational safety and health, and over 3,000 international OSH stakeholders from more than 100 countries will attend the congress. These congresses have been organised since 1955.


Päivi Hämäläinen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 50 72 4550, (N.B. no Scandinavian letters å, ä or ö)