Every year, men and women in a wide variety of jobs and industries throughout Massachusetts die as a result of injuries suffered at work. These deaths are all the more tragic because they are largely preventable. Information about when and how they occur is essential in order to target effective prevention programs. In Massachusetts, the Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) collects information on all fatal occupational injuries in the Commonwealth as part of the national Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), conducted in cooperation with the Bureau of labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of labor. OHSP also conducts in-depth work site investigations of targeted fatal occupational injuries as part of the national Fatality Assessment Control and Evaluation project (FACE), sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The purpose of the FACE project is to develop a detailed understanding of how fatal injuries occur and to identify effective countermeasures to prevent similar incidents in the future. Excerpts from selected FACE investigations are highlighted within this report. This update provides an overview of fatal injuries at work that occurred in Massachusetts during 2001. These include fatalities traditionally linked with factors in the work environment such as falls, electrocutions, and exposure to toxic substances. They also include homicides and suicides at work, as well as motor vehicle-related fatalities that occurred during travel on the job. Deaths caused by occupational illnesses are not included in this fatality update. The deaths of Massachusetts workers related to the events of September 11, 2001 are counted in the states where the plane crashes occured and are not included in this report. In 2001, 54 men suffered fatal injuries at work in Massachusetts. There were no women who died as a result of injuries at work that year. The overall rate of fatal occupational injury for all workers was 1.6 per 100,000 workers. The rate for male workers was 3.1 deaths per 100,000 male workers. The average age at death was 44.3 years. Twenty-seven (50%) victims were younger than 45 years of age and five (9%) victims were older than 65 years. The 54 fatalities resulted in an average of 32.1 years of potential life lost (years before the victim reached age 75) for each death, for a total of 1,668 years of potential life lost. Two victims were younger than 18 years of age. A 15 year-old was killed when he was struck by several heavy granite slabs while shoveling snow at a marble and granite supplier. A 17 year-old student died from medical complications of an injury he sustained while working in a cooperative placement program. Forty-seven (87%) victims were white, five (9%) were black, and two (4%) were of other races. The overall rate of fatal occupational injury for white workers was 1.6 per 100,000 workers and for black workers was 2.3 per 100,000 workers. Six victims (11%) were Hispanic workers, who were employed in a variety of industries, including construction, agriculture, fishing, transportation, and retail. The overall rate of fatal occupational injury for all Hispanic workers was 3.1 per 100,000 workers. The rate for Hispanic men was 6.1 deaths per 100,000 male workers. Of the 54 workers fatally injured, 41 (76%) were wage and salary workers and 11 (20%) were self-employed and two (4%) were working in family businesses.
Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Protective-measures; Industrial-equipment; Industrial-safety; Safety-research; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Mortality-surveys; Accident-rates; Traumatic-injuries; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Accident-statistics; Racial-factors; Age-factors; Surveillance-programs
Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108