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Fatal injuries at work: Massachusetts fatality update, 2003-2004.

Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Public Health 2006 Sep; :1-8
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 2003 and 2004. 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 resulting from occupational illnesses and heart attacks are excluded from this fatality update. In Massachusetts, a total of 150 men and women were fatally injured at work during 2003 and 2004. Ninety-five percent of these workers were men. In 2003, 73 men and five women suffered fatal injuries at work in Massachusetts; in 2004, 69 men and three women died as a result of occupational injuries. The average annual rate of fatal occupational injury for all workers in Massachusetts was 2.3 per 100,000 workers over the two year period 2003-2004. The average age at death was 41.6 years. More than one-quarter (27.3%) of victims were younger than 35 years of age. The highest fatal injury rates were among the 35-44 age group and those individuals 65 years and older. The 150 fatalities resulted in a total of 5,000 potential life years lost, an average of 33 potential life years lost per death. Potential life lost is the difference between the victim's age and 75 years. One hundred and sixteen (77%) victims were white non-Hispanic. Fifteen victims (10%) were Hispanic, twelve of whom were foreign born. The average, annual rate of fatal injuries among Hispanics was 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers over the two year period, 2003-2004. Thirty-five victims were foreign-born, ten of whom were employed in the construction industry. Foreign-born workers had a higher rate of fatal injuries compared with workers born in the United States (3.4 verses 2.0). Of the 150 workers fatally injured, 25 (17%) were self-employed and died at 1.8 times the rate of wage/salary earners.
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; Sex-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