April 12, 2004
Self-employed workers are more likely than wage and salary workers to be employed in occupations with high fatality rates. These occupations include farmers, except horticultural; construction trades; timber-cutting and logging occupations; and fishers, including captains and officers of vessels.
As shown in the chart, self-employed workers (except those employed as fishers or timber cutters) also can have higher fatality rates than wage and salary workers in the same occupation. In some occupations, the difference in fatality rates is substantial.
Self-employed workers face greater risks than wage and salary workers in the same occupation. These increased risks could be indicative of lesser safety measures for self-employed workers. Also, the self-employed worked longer hours and therefore may have been exposed to workplace hazards for greater periods. Finally, self-employed workers were older, and older workers had a much higher fatality rate than younger ones.
These data are from the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. For additional information, see Occupational fatalities: self-employed workers and wage and salary workers, by Stephen M. Pegula, Monthly Labor Review, March 2004. Self-employed workers consist of individuals who are self-employed; self-employed contractors; partners or owners of an unincorporated business, professional practice, or farm; and family members working in a family business. Wage and salary workers comprise all other workers who are working for pay or for other compensation and owners and employees of an incorporated business.