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Comparing costs of fatalities from two fatal occupational injury surveillance systems in the United States.

Biddle EA; Marsh SM
NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2003 Oct; :60
There are currently two national surveillance systems compiling occupational fatal injury data: the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). Both systems were designed to capture the number and circumstances of all work-related fatal injuries and are used by researchers to illustrate the burden of occupational fatalities. NIOSH developed a model to estimate the costs of fatalities from either system providing researchers another measure of this burden. Because each system uses a different approach to count fatalities, the annual number of fatal occupational injuries reported varies by system. A comprehensive comparison (Biddle and Marsh, 2002) concluded that using death certificates alone, NTOF identified approximately 84% of the total count obtained by CFOI. Furthermore, counts differed by case and worker characteristics. A contributing factor to the differences was that NTOF reports usual industry and occupation while CFOI reports industry and occupation at the time of injury. Cost estimates from the NIOSH model are driven by the number of fatalities reported and earnings of the employee at the time of death. Because earnings are dependent on the occupation and industry reported by the fatality surveillance system, costs of fatalities by system also vary. For example, during 1992-1997 CFOI reported 3,091 fatalities in services occupations and the mean cost estimate was $767,695; NTOF reported 2,473 fatalities in that occupation group but the mean cost estimate was $770,215. Similarly, the number and mean cost for manufacturing was 4,471 and $797,372 compared to 4,364 and $768,149 for CFOI and NTOF respectively. The surveillance system selected to calculate the counts and costs of occupational fatal injuries will impact the resulting estimates and thus the injury prevention and control program planning, policy analysis, evaluation, and advocacy efforts.
Occupational-hazards; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Mortality-data; Injury-prevention; Surveillance-programs; Risk-analysis
Publication Date
Document Type
Abstract; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Social and Economic Consequences
Source Name
NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division