NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheet: Services

September 2006
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2006-159

NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheet: Services

Number, rate, and costs of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. construction industry by selected characteristics, 1992–2002

Number, rate, and costs of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. construction 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 8964 1.8 $8,034 $901 $872
Male 7318 3.8 6589 905 875
Female 1646 0.5 1446 883 865
Race of decedent:
White 7357 1.7 6699 915 899
Black 1038 1.7 850 821 801
Other* 569 2.4 486 859 805
Age of decedent:
16–19 230 1.2 180 784 751
20–24 719 1.5 680 946 877
25–34 1927 1.5 2182 1132 1054
35–44 2201 1.6 2561 1163 1084
45–54 1843 1.7 1750 949 881
55–64 1251 2.4 621 496 455
65+ 793 4.7 61 81 64
Occupation group:
Managerial and
professional specialty
2871 1.2 3331 1165 1248
Technical, sales, and
administrative support
1055 0.9 1030 980 991
Service 1869 1.7 1161 625 712
Farming, forestry, and
240 5.4 139 580 672
Precision production,
craft, and repair
1310 5.7 1164 895 976
Operators, fabricators,
and laborers
1552 7.3 1157 749 801
Event or exposure:
Contact with objects and
823 0.2 678 830 849
Falls 908 0.2 607 679 720
Bodily reaction and
50 0.0 38 765 661
Exposure to harmful
substances or
849 0.2 798 942 904
3709 0.7 3571 967 967
Fires and explosions 285 0.1 248 873 872
Assaults and violent acts 2325 0.5 2082 897 831

*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

Mathematical Representation of Indirect Costs
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 icon. 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 icon. Wage data are based on the occupation of the decedent and the year of death adjusted by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Deflatorexternal icon 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 icon. 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 icon 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 icon

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

Employment estimates for rate calculations: BLS Current Population Surveyexternal icon.

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

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