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Surveillance of traumatic occupational fatalities in Alaska - implications for prevention.

Schnitzer-PG; Bender-TR
Public Health Rep 1992 Jan; 107(1):70-74
A study of fatal occupational accidents in Alaska was conducted. Records of the Alaska Workers Compensation Division and death certificates filed through through the State of Alaska were searched for the period 1980 through 1986 to identify all occupationally related fatal injuries. A total of 422 fatal occupational injuries were identified. Of these, 401 (95%) involved males and 21 (5%) females. The average age of the decedents was 34.6 years. The 422 deaths represented an overall average occupational injury fatality rate of 36.3 deaths per 100,000 workers. The four industries with the highest annual fatality rate were: transportation, communications, and public utilities 73.1/100,000, mining 53.1/100,000, construction 49.1/100,000, and agriculture, forestry, and fishing 28.1/100,000. The five occupations with the largest number of deaths were aircraft pilot, fisherman, sailor or deckhand, manager or administrator, and truck driver which accounted for 14.1, 12.4, 6.3, 6.3, and 4.1% of the total, respectively. Aircraft crashes, drownings, and motor vehicle accidents were the three major causes of fatal occupational injury, accounting for 30.8, 19.4, and 9.7% of the total, respectively. The authors conclude that the average annual occupational injury fatality rate, 36.3/100,000, is much higher than national estimates for the same period. Aircraft and boat related accidents are responsible for much of the occupational fatalities in Alaska. This finding differs from that reported by the United States as a whole and underscores the importance of using state based surveillance systems for identifying occupational fatalities. There is a need for further investigation of occupational fatalities related to air and sea transportation in Alaska.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-accidents; Accident-statistics; Mortality-data; Information-systems; Epidemiology; Traumatic-injuries; Surveillance-programs; Accident-rates
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Public Health Reports