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 2005. 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, 75 individuals were fatally injured at work during 2005; 69 were men and six were women. The annual rate of fatal occupational injury in Massachusetts for 2005 was 2.3 deaths per 100,000 workers. This rate is similar to fatal occupational injury rates for Massachusetts reported for the previous two years. The victims ranged in age from 21 to 75 years, with an average age of 44 years. The 75 fatalities resulted in a total of 2,315 potential life years lost, an average of 31 potential life years lost per death. Potential life lost is the difference between the victim's age and 75 years. Fifty-seven (76%) victims were White non-Hispanic; six (8%) victims were Black non-Hispanic and 4 (5.3%) were Asian non-Hispanic. Six victims (8%) were Hispanic, four of whom were foreign born. The rate of fatal occupational injury among White non-Hispanics was 2.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. The rate among Black Non-Hispanic workers was 3.8 deaths per 100,000 workers, and the rate among Hispanic workers was 2.9 deaths per 100,000 workers. Twenty-two victims - approximately one in four workers fatally injured at work in 2005 - were born outside of the US. Six of these workers were from Central or South America, five from Africa, four from Asia, and three from Southern Europe. Foreign-born victims worked in a range of industries. The rate of fatal injury among foreign-born workers was 4.0 per 100,000 workers compared with the rate of 1.9 deaths per 100,000 workers for US-born workers. Of the 75 workers fatally injured, 15 were self-employed. The fatal injury rate among self-employed workers was 4.7 deaths per 100,000 workers while the rate among wage/salary earners was 2.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. One-third (33%) of the self-employed victims were working in the construction industry as compared with one-fifth (20%) of the wage/salary earners. Thirty-four (45%) victims worked in small employer establishments (with 10 or fewer employees). Eleven (32%) of those victims worked in construction, nine of whom were fatally injured at residential construction sites.
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; Equipment-operators; Surveillance-programs
Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108