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Fatal occupational injury related to helicopters in the United States 1980-1985.

Conroy-C; Russell-JC; Crouse-WE; Bender-TR; Holl-JA
Aviat Space Environ Med 1992 Jan; 63(1):67-71
An evaluation was conducted to examine the characteristics of occupational deaths which involved helicopters and occurred in the United States during 1980 through 1985. The circumstances under which these deaths occurred were presented and the potential risk factors or occupational groups, which are in need of further study, were identified. In the National Traumatic Occupational Fatality database, 374 worker deaths involving helicopters were identified for this time period. Most of the deaths resulted from trauma to body organs, including the brain. Pilot error was blamed for 59% of the crashes. Mechanical failure was blamed in 16.5% of the cases. Thirty percent of the deaths occurred during military uses of the aircraft. Helicopters used for medical transport or transport to remote work sites were proportionally more often involved in crashes which occurred under adverse weather conditions. Helicopter pilots appeared to be particularly at high risk. Drowning was identified as a particularly important immediate cause of death in helicopter crashes. The authors recommend that pilots be studied as a group in more depth in an effort to identify specific strategies that might increase their protection.
NIOSH-Author; Safety-research; Accident-analysis; Accident-rates; Military-personnel; Emergency-equipment; Accident-statistics; Accident-potential
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Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine