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October 1994, Vol. 117, No. 10
The changing character of fatal work injuries
Guy Toscano and Janice Windau
Traditional images of workers killed on factory floors and at construction sites no longer square with the worksites of most Americans and the jobs in which they are most likely to be fatally injured. Nationally, about 5 of every 100,000 workers were fatally injured on the job. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries show that two-thirds of the 6,271 fatal work injuries in 1993 resulted in deaths in transportation-related incidents or because of assaults and violent acts.1 By contrast, deadly contacts with heavy objects, machinery, and equipment, one of the more traditional classifications of fatalities, accounted for about one-sixth of the total number of fatalities. (See table 1.)
This article summarizes major findings from the 1993 BLS fatality census, a program that provides accurate and verifiable counts of fatal work injuries and profiles where and how these deaths occur-red and worker groups that were affected.
Highlights of the 1993 census
Highway-related fatalities. Highway traffic incidents1 led all other fatal events, accounting for 20 percent of the 6,271 fatal occupational injuries. About half of the highway deaths resulted from collisions between two or more vehicles, a fifth from overturned vehicles, and the remainder mainly front crashing into a stationary object, such as a telephone pole or bridge abutment.
The following tabulation shows the various types of work-related fatal highway incidents:
Total highway fatalities
|Collisions between vehicles||652||53|
|Moving in same direction||99||8|
|Moving and standing vehicle||52||4|
|Collisions with stationary object||188||15|
|Ran off highway||57||5|
|Other or unspecified||59||5|
This excerpt is from an article published in the October 1994 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Transportation-related incidents include fatalities involving land (either on or off the highway), air, water, or rail transport. It includes injuries to occupants of vehicles and to pedestrians or other nonpassengers. Assaults and violent acts include homicides, self-inflicted injuries, and attacks by animals.
Fatal work injuries: census for 31 States. September 1992.
Further test of a census approach to compiling data on fatal work injuries. October 1991.
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