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Maryland Workplace Fatalities 2007 - Research and Statistics - Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

 

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Maryland Workplace Fatalities Declined in 2007

Fatal work-related injuries in Maryland totaled 82 in 20071. This was a 23 percent decline from the previous year's total and was the lowest count in the State since 2004, according to the latest results from the Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program. CFOI is a cooperative program between the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Division of Labor and Industry and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Key findings of the 2007 Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

  • For the second year in a row, "homicide" was the most frequent cause of death for workers in the State. However, the total number of workplace homicides declined 19 percent from 21 cases in 2006 to17 in 2007. Fourteen of the homicide cases (82 percent) occurred in the services providing sector of the economy. This broad economic sector encompasses many activities such as transportation and warehousing, public order and safety, waste management, janitorial services and retail trade.
  • For every year since 2003, the construction sector has had the highest fatality count of all industry sectors in the State. There were 18 reported deaths in the private sector construction industry in 2007. This count, however, represented a significant decline (49 percent) from the previous year's total of 35 cases and was also the lowest number reported for this industry since 2003.
  • Eleven workers were killed in the retail trade sector, eight of whom died by homicide. The fatality count for workers in retail trade more than doubled from the five cases reported in 2006.
  • Six individuals were killed while on the job in the protective services occupations; three of whom died by homicide.
  • With 15 reported cases, fatal workplace injuries involving "highway crashes" was the second leading cause of death to Maryland workers, though the number of these cases fell by 25 percent from 2006.
  • "Non-highway accidents, except rail, air, and water", another transportation event related category, also decreased in 2007. The three reported cases represented a 25 percent decline from the previous year.
  • The event category, "pedestrian, non-passenger struck by vehicle, mobile equipment" experienced a sizable increase from 8 cases in 2006 to 15 in 2007. Eighty percent of the 15 cases in this group involved the victim being hit by an oncoming truck or automobile in, or on the side of, a public road.
  • With 14 reported cases, fall fatalities declined more than one-third from a series high of 22 reported deaths in 2006. Falls took the lives of 17 percent of all workplace deaths in the State during 2007. Over half of the falls (8) occurred in the construction sector. Twelve of the 14 workers died when they fell to a lower level.
  • Four workers died after they were struck by a falling object or piece of equipment; another three workers died from electrocution.
  • Men accounted for 89 percent (73 cases) of all the work-related fatalities in Maryland with 40 percent (29 cases) due to transportation events. Twenty-three percent of the male deaths (17 cases) resulted from assaults and violent act.
  • Nine women were fatality injured while on the job, with four of these deaths resulting from transportation accidents.
  • Fifty-two percent of the worker fatalities in Maryland were white non-Hispanic (43); almost one-third of the victims were black non-Hispanic (26). Fatalities to Hispanic workers were down over two-thirds from 2006's count of 22 to 7 in 2007. Deaths to Asia workers doubled from 3 to 6 cases with the primary event being homicide.
  • Eighty-five percent of the workers killed on the job worked for wages and salaries, the rest were self-employed. The leading case of death for wage and salary workers was a Transportation Incident (29 cases). For the self-employed, the leading cause of death was split between Transportation Incidents and Assaults and Violent acts, with four deaths reported for each category.

Profile of Maryland Construction Fatalities, 2003 - 2007

  • In Maryland, for a five-year period from 2003 through 2007, a total of 131 workers lost their lives while working in the construction industry.
  • Based on occupational classification, of the total 456 workplace fatalities that occurred in Maryland from 2003 through 2007, one -quarter occurred in the construction and extraction occupations.
  • From 2003 through 2007 there were 114 fatalities in the construction and extraction occupations. Almost two-fifths (45) of these workers died from falls. There were an additional 22 deaths in this occupational group involving transportation accidents and another 22 workers died as a result of coming into contact with various objects and equipment.
  • Of the 20 carpenters who were killed on the job during this five-year period, 13 of the deaths were due to falls.
  • From 2003 through 2007, there were 83 fatal work injuries in the Specialty Trade Contractors industry (NAICS sub-sector 238). This industry sub-sector comprises varied construction activities including masonry work (8 cases); site preparation (6 cases), plumbing, heating and air conditioning (6 cases); painting and wall covering contractors (7 cases); roofing contractors (13 cases); and electrical contractors (12 cases).
  • Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (NAICS sub-sector 237) recorded 21 worker fatalities during this five-year time period. Sixty-two percent (13 cases) were engaged in Highway, Street and Bridge Construction activities. There were seven fatal injuries in the Utility System Construction industry group.
  • Construction of Buildings (NAICS sub-sector 236) recorded 21 fatalities with 16 of those cases reported in Residential Building Construction and four reported in Commercial and Institutional Building Construction.

Technical Notes

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (CFOI) is a cooperative program between the State of Maryland, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Division of Labor an Industry and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. CFOI provides a complete count of all fatal work injuries occurring in Maryland and in the United States in each calendar year. The program uses diverse State and Federal data sources to identify, verify and profile fatal work injuries. Information about each workplace fatality (industry, occupation, and other worker characteristics; equipment being used; and circumstances of the event) is obtained by cross-referencing multiple source documents, such as death certificates, workers' compensation reports, news accounts, and reports to State and Federal agencies. Diverse sources are used because studies have shown that no single source captures all job-related fatalities. The documents are matched so that each fatality is counted only once. To ensure that a fatality occurred while the decedent was at work, information is verified from two or more independent source documents. This method assures counts are as complete and accurate as possible.

For a fatality to be included in the census, the decedent must have been employed (that is working for pay, compensation, or profit) at the time of the event, engaged in a legal work activity, or present at the site of the incident as a requirement of his or her job. Fatalities to volunteers and unpaid family workers who perform the same duties and functions as paid workers are also included in the count. These criteria are generally broader than those used by State and Federal agencies administering specific laws and regulations. (Fatalities that occur during a person's normal commute to or from work are excluded from the census counts.)

Data presented in this release include deaths occurring in 2007 that resulted from traumatic occupational injuries. An injury is defined as any wound or damage to the body resulting from acute exposure to energy, such as heat, electricity, or impact from a crash or fall, or from the absence of such essentials as heat or oxygen, caused by a specific event or incident within a single workday or shift. Included are open wounds, intracranial and internal injuries, heatstroke, hypothermia, asphyxiation, acute poisonings resulting from short-term exposures limited to the worker's shift, suicides and homicides, and work injuries listed as underlying or contributory causes of death.

The CFOI program presents data for all fatal work injuries, regardless of whether the decedent was working in a job covered under the regulatory oversight of the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Agency or other State and Federal agencies. Thus, any comparison between the Maryland CFOI counts and those released by other agencies should take into account the different coverage requirements and definitions being used by each agency.

Information on work-related fatal illnesses is not reported in the Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and is excluded from the attached tables because the latency period associated with many types of occupational illness and the difficulty of linking those illnesses to work exposures make identification of a universe problematic.

1The 2007 figures are preliminary. The final count will be released in April 2009