Baldwin Shooting Incident Shines Light on 222 Workplace Deaths in U.S. Alone This Year

The news of the fatal shooting incident involving actor Alec Baldwin has brought to focus just how deadly workplaces can be.

A Newsweek analysis of data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows that 222 people have died at a work-related facility in this year alone.

Those incidents are among 5,255 workplace fatalities reported in the U.S. over the last five years.

The number of deaths that occurred in Texas this year were alarmingly high compared to those in other states. The state reported 39 work-related fatalities in 2021, while Illinois and Florida reported the second and third highest number of deaths with 16 fatalities and 15 fatalities, respectively.

The only other states that reported ten or more work-related deaths this year were New York and Ohio, each with 11, and Tennessee, with 10.

On Thursday, Baldwin discharged a prop firearm while on a movie set in New Mexico, killing the film's director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and seriously wounding the movie's director, Joel Souza.

There has only been one other report of a work-related fatality in New Mexico this year, when a construction worker was fatally crushed between aerial lift and transmission pole in January.

The details of what happened on the set of Baldwin's film "Rust" remain unclear as of Friday morning, but the deadly incident has served as an upsetting reminder about the importance of workplace safety and the dangers that the filmmaking community, in particular, face.

Alec Baldwin Workplace Death Gun Shooting
Actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun on a movie set Thursday, killing the film's director of photography. Baldwin attends DreamWorks Animation's "The Boss Baby: Family Business" premiere at SVA Theatre on June 22, 2021 in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP

An older report from the Associated Press determined that between 1990 and 2016, at least 43 people died on film and TV sets in the U.S. and more than 150 people suffered life-changing injuries.

The report noted that those figures don't tell the whole story either.

Several fatal accidents in the U.S. were missing from the OHSA's database, including the 1993 death of actor Brandon Lee, which has resurfaced amid Thursday's news in New Mexico.

The only son of Bruce Lee died on the set of "The Crow" after an actor fired a gun at him. The other actor believed that the gun had been loaded with blanks but a bullet that had been lodged in the barrel was discharged and ended up killing Lee.

And because the entertainment industry has expanded vastly across the globe, statistics only show a glimpse of the accidents that occurred internationally.

While there is no entity that compiles all fatalities for international filming incidents, a joint study released by from the World Health Organization and International Labour Organization in May estimated that almost 2 million people die from work-related causes each year.

"It's shocking to see so many people literally being killed by their jobs," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press release. "Our report is a wake-up call to countries and businesses to improve and protect the health and safety of workers by honouring their commitments to provide universal coverage of occupational health and safety services."