NIOSH Releases Report Detailing Work-Related Deaths

Oct. 4, 2001
Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, West Virginia and Mississippi logged the highest occupational fatality rates per 100,000 workers in data collected over a 16-year\r\nperiod by NIOSH.

Workers in Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, West Virginia and Mississippi beware: your states logged the highest occupational fatality rates per 100,000 workers in data collected over a 16-year period from 1980 to 1995. The greatest number of fatal occupational injuries for the same period occurred in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

Fatal work-related injuries claimed 93,338 lives from 1980 to 1995, according to two new reports released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention''s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The new reports show numbers and rates of job-related fatalities by occupation, by industry, by age, and by cause for the 16-year period. NIOSH hopes the data will help researchers and policy makers identify high-risk occupations and industries for focusing injury prevention efforts.

The documents show that:

  • The number and rate of fatal occupational injuries decreased from 1980 through 1995. The number decreased 28 percent from 7,343 deaths in 1980 to 5,314 in 1995. The average annual rate declined 42 percent from 7.4 deaths per 100,000 workers in 1980 to 4.3 per 100,000 in 1995.
  • Leading causes of job-related death during the 16-year period were motor vehicle crashes, homicides, machine-related incidents, falls, electrocutions, and being struck by falling objects.
  • Male workers had a job-related fatality rate 11 times higher than the rate for female workers.
  • Workers 65 years and older had the highest fatality rate of all age groups in every industry and occupation.

The reports are based on a comprehensive NIOSH assessment of data gathered from death certificates nationwide. One report, "Fatal Injuries to Civilian Workers in the United States, 1980-1995 (National and State Profiles)" [DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-129S], provides both national and state-specific data. The other, "Fatal Injuries to Civilian Workers in the United States, 1980-1995 (National Profile)" [DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-129], includes only the national data.

The information included in the reports should help efforts to assess trends over time to determine where risks may be growing. The findings also will help researchers develop further studies where more information is needed for targeting significant workplace safety hazards.

The two documents are available by calling the NIOSH toll-free information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674). They also are available on the NIOSH web page at

by Sandy Smith

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