In an article in the agency's Compensation and Working Conditions Online, BLS economist Sean Smith points out that mechanics experience higher rates of fatalities and injuries and illnesses than other workers. According to Smith's research, mechanics in 2005 had a fatality rate of 5.3 per 100,000 workers – compared to a rate of 4.0 per 100,000 workers for all occupations combined.
From 2003 through 2005, Smith notes, 147 mechanics were killed on the job.
In 2005, mechanics experienced 15,680 nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work. That number was about the same as in 2004, following a decline of 9.8 percent from 2003 to 2004.
Among all occupations, Smith points out, mechanics in both 2004 and 2005 ranked 14th in terms of the number of injuries and illnesses involving days away from work.
In 2005, the median number of days away from work for injured or ill mechanics was 5 days – less than the median of 7 days for all occupations.
Assaults Are a Leading Cause of Fatalities
According to Smith's research, assaults and violent acts are a leading cause of fatalities among mechanics. According to his analysis, 29.3 percent of on-the-job fatalities among mechanics from 2003 through 2005 were due to assaults and violent acts. In all occupations combined during that same time period, assaults and violent acts account for 14.7 percent of fatalities.
Of the fatal assaults and violent acts among mechanics from 2003 through 2005, Smith points out that 44.2 percent were homicides and 55.8 percent were self-inflicted wounds.
Self-inflicted fatalities represented 16.3 percent of all fatalities among mechanics during that time period but represented only 3.5 percent of fatalities among all workers.
Many Injuries Caused by Contact With Objects and Equipment
According to Smith's research, most of the days-away-from-work injuries and illnesses among mechanics in 2005 were due to contact with objects and equipment (44.5 percent) or overexertion (21.6 percent).
The contact-with-objects category includes being struck by an object (22 percent of the category total), struck against an object (11.3 percent) and caught in an object, equipment or material (5.6 percent).
To read Smith's analysis, click here.