Using different methods, two national systems compile fatal occupational injury data in the United States: the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). The NTOF uses only death certificates, while CFOI uses multiple sources for case ascertainment. Through overall and case-by-case comparisons, this study compares these systems and evaluates counts for the nation and by state for worker and case characteristics. From 1992 through 1994, NTOF reported an average of 84% of the number of traumatic occupational fatalities reported in CFOI. This percentage changed somewhat when a case-by-case comparison was conducted--88% of the NTOF cases were matched directly to the CFOI cases. Although CFOI captured a larger number of fatalities annually, the additional fatalities did not follow a discernable pattern. By understanding the distribution of fatalities, targeted efforts to reduce them will benefit all industries.