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Fatal injuries at work: Massachusetts fatality update, 2002.

Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Public Health 2005 Mar; :1-6
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 2002. 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. In 2002, 42 men and four women suffered fatal injuries at work in Massachusetts. The overall rate of fatal occupational injury for all workers was 1.4 per 100,000 workers. The average age at death was 43.2 years. Twenty-three (50%) victims were younger than 39 years of age. The 46 fatalities resulted in an average of 31.7 years of potential life lost (years before the victim reached age 75) for each death, for a total of 1,461 years of potential life lost. Thirty-six (78%) victims were white non-Hispanic. The overall rate of fatal occupational injury for white non-Hispanic workers was 1.2 per 100,000 workers. Five victims (11%) were Hispanic workers, four of whom were foreign born. The victims were employed in a variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, transportation, and retail. The overall rate of fatal occupational injury for Hispanic workers was 2.5 per 100,000 workers. Fourteen victims were foreign-born. In addition to the four foreign-born Hispanic workers fatally injured, five victims were born in Brazil. Four of the fatally injured Brazilians were employed in the construction industry. Of the 46 workers fatally injured, 38 (83%) were wage and salary workers, and seven (15%) were self-employed. Over half of the victims (26) were employed in establishments with ten or fewer workers.
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
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008331; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-08332
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Source Name
Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division