Information from the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system for 1980 through 1989 was used to determine the demographic and employment characteristics of machinery related occupational fatality victims, and the types of machinery associated with these incidents. NTOF acquired death certificates for persons who died of external causes associated with an injury on the job. There were 8,505 civilian machinery related fatalities identified in this period; 98% were male. There were 7,645 deaths in white workers, 723 deaths in black workers, and 137 deaths in workers of other races, for average annual fatality rates of 0.82, 0.72, and 0.36 per 100,000 workers, respectively. Workers aged 65 or older were at 5.8 times the risk of workers 16 to 64. More than 70% of the machine related accidents were in the Midwest and South census regions. By industry, the highest fatality rate was for the agriculture/forestry/fishing industry (7.47), while for mining it was 7.39. The fatality rate for construction was 3.50, and for transportation/communications/public utilities the rate was 1.24. Although manufacturing had the second greatest number of fatalities (1,649), the fatality rate was only 0.85. By machinery type, tractors had the highest number of fatalities (2,635) and the highest rate (0.25). Forklifts, cranes, excavation machinery and loaders each accounted for over 5% of fatalities. In workers aged over 64, tractors, harvest machines, and excavating equipment were the leading causes of death.
Stephanie G. Pratt, MA, Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch, Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505-2888