NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :30
Introduction: The NIOSH, Alaska Field Station is addressing the problem of work-related aviation fatalities in Alaska through interagency partnerships, a compelling problem. Although Alaska has experienced an overall downward trend in occupational fatalities since 1990 (80 fatalities in 1990 to 38 fatalities in 1999 - a 52% decrease), occupational aviation fatalities continue to be a problem. Aircraft crashes are now the leading cause of occupational fatalities in Alaska. Methods: Aircraft accident data for crashes occurring in Alaska during 1990-1999 were obtained from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident reports and entered into a database maintained by FAA's National Aviation Safety Data Analysis Center (NASDAC). Accidents specific to Alaska were selected and entered into a database maintained by NIOSH's Alaska Field Station-the Alaska Occupational Injury Surveillance System (AOISS) for analysis. Results: Between 1990-1999, aviation crashes in Alaska caused 106 occupational pilot deaths, equivalent to 430/100,000 pilots/year, approximately 86 times the mortality rate for all U.S. workers. Contributing to this problem was helicopter logging. During 1992-93, Alaska helicopter logging pilots had an extraordinarily-high crash rate of 16% annually, and catastrophic fatality rate of 5,000/100,000/year. In response to this problem, an interagency working group involving FAA, NTSB, NIOSH, and other federal and state agencies conducted surveillance, analyzed data, developed consensus safety recommendations, and assisted in implementing immediate improvements in the oversight of helicopter logging. As a result, from 1994, through 1999, there has been only one logging helicopter crash, with one fatality. Conclusions: As demonstrated by the helicopter logging experience in Alaska, interagency partnerships can be highly effective in conducting surveillance and analysis, and recommending intervention strategies for the prevention of aircraft crashes. Building on this success, an interagency partnership-the Alaska Interagency Aviation Safety Initiative is focusing on surveillance and prevention of fixed-wing commercial aircraft crashes in Alaska.
NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA., October 17-19, 2000