NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheet: Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services

September 2006
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2006-155

NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheet: Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services

Number, rate, and costs of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. transportation, communications, electric, gas, and sanitary services industry by selected characteristics, 1992–2002

  Costs (2003 dollars)
Characteristic Number of fatalities Fatality rate(per 100,000 workers) Total (millions) Mean(thousands) Median(thousands)
All incidents 10628 10.6 $9,783 $922 $942
Male 10,087 14.1 9,302 924 944
Female 541 1.9 481 889 892
Race of decedent:
White 8,580 10.5 7,972 931 950
Black 1474 10.0 1247 847 866
Other* 574 14.3 564 984 987
Age of decedent:
16–19 95 6.8 76 804 749
20–24 503 7.2 500 993 938
25–34 2162 8.7 2489 1151 1052
35–44 2942 9.3 3309 1125 1041
45–54 2829 11.8 2582 913 861
55–64 1583 16.9 782 494 483
65+ 514 29.7 44 89 65
Occupation group:
Managerial and
professional specialty
409 2.1 514 1259 1381
Technical, sales, and
administrative support
1133 3.5 1498 1323 1330
Service 147 4.7 97 661 691
Farming, forestry, and
31 20.3 19 601 656
Precision production,
craft, and repair
1022 7.3 1091 1068 1117
Operators, fabricators,
and laborers
7869 25.2 6552 834 892
Event or exposure:
Contact with objects and
892 0.9 744 835 868
Falls 427 0.4 352 825 847
Bodily reaction and
21 0.0 16 754 775
Exposure to harmful
substances or
698 0.7 727 1042 1059
7409 7.4 6917 935 955
Fires and explosions 179 0.2 177 994 1011
Assaults and violent acts 988 1.0 837 848 851

*This category includes all other races, such as American Indian and Asian, as well as unknown or missing races.

Numbers are not reported for “unknown” or “not classified” categories.

Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Model

Theoretical Basis of Cost Estimation

The cost to society of a workplace fatality was estimated using the cost-of-illness approach, which combines direct and indirect costs to yield an overall cost of an occupational fatal injury. For these calculations, only medical expenses were used to estimate the direct cost associated with the fatality. The indirect cost was derived by calculating the present value of future earnings summed from the year of death until the decedent would have reached age 67, accounting for the probability of survival were it not for the premature death. (For more information, see Biddle, E [2004]. Economic Cost of Fatal Occupational Injuries in the United States, 1980–1997. Contemporary Economic Policy 22(3):370–381.)

Mathematical Representation of Indirect Costs

PVF = ΣPy,s (y+1)[Ys, j(n) + Yhs(n)] (1+g)n–y/(1+r)n–y

PVF = present discounted value of loss due to occupational fatal injury per person
Py,s (y+1) = probability that a person of race r, sex s, and age y will survive to age y+1
y = age of the person at death
s = sex of the person
n = age if the person had survived
Ys,j(n) = median annual earnings of an employed person of sex s, occupation j, and age n (includes benefits and life-cycle wage growth adjustment)
Yhs(n) = mean annual imputed value of home production of a person of sex s and age n
g = wage growth rate attributable to overall productivity
r = real discount rate (3%)

Data Sources

Fatality data: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI)External. These data exclude military personnel, decedents with unknown age or sex, fatalities occurring in New York City, and fatalities from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Probability of survival: National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics.

Median annual earnings: BLS Current Population SurveyExternal. Wage data are based on the occupation of the decedent and the year of death adjusted by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) DeflatorExternal to base year of dollar. Life-cycle wage growth was calculated based on the rate of change in wages between age groups.

Benefits: U.S. Chamber of CommerceExternal. Benefits data are based on the industry where the decedent was employed and the year of death adjusted by the GDP Deflator.

Mean annual home production: Expectancy DataExternal that were derived by a time diary study sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and conducted by the University of Maryland.

Wage growth rate: Based on BLS Employment Cost Index (ECI)External

Medical costs: National Council on Compensation InsuranceExternal. Costs are a 3-year average cost.

Employment estimates for rate calculations: BLS Current Population SurveyExternal.

Fatality Rate Calculations

Fatality rates were calculated by NIOSH and may differ from previously published BLS CFOI rates. Fatality rates were calculated as deaths per 100,000 workers. Fatality rates for sex, race, age group, and occupation were calculated using employment estimates by the individual characteristic within the specific industry sector. Employment estimates for the specific industry sector were used to generate rates for event.

Classification Systems

Industry: 1987 Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC)External
Occupation: 1990 Bureau of Census Occupational Classification System (BOC)External
Event: 1992 BLS Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS)External
Page last reviewed: June 6, 2014