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MDPH Report Examines Occupational Fatalities and Injuries

Filed under: Construction Law by News Staff at 10:44 pm on February 13, 2005

Massachusetts Rate Lower than the Nation

Press Release

JANE SWIFT, Governor
ROBERT P. GITTENS, Secretary
HOWARD K. KOH, MD, MPH, Commissioner

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, September 24, 2002

CONTACT: Roseanne Pawelec
617) 624-5006

MDPH Report Examines Occupational Fatalities and Injuries

Massachusetts Rate Lower than the Nation

Boston, MA - Commercial fishers, construction workers and landscapers are among those at highest risk of fatal injury on the job in Massachusetts according to a new report, "Fatal Occupational Injuries in Massachusetts, 1991 – 1999", released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health today. A total of 633 workers died in Massachusetts as a result of injuries sustained during this nine year period – an average of between one and two workers each week.

"The majority of these tragic deaths are preventable," said MDPH Commissioner Dr. Howard Koh. "Good public health means providing protection not only where we live but also where we work," Dr. Koh added.

The report also found that falls to lower levels, primarily by construction workers (61% of falls), was the leading single fatal event in Massachusetts, accounting for 118 of these 663 deaths. Falls accounted for a much higher proportion (21% of work related fatal injuries in Massachusetts than in the nation (11% However, Massachusetts has a lower annual fatal occupational injury rate than the nation for each year between ’91 and ’99.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • The annual average fatality rate was 2.3 deaths per 100,000 workers.
  • Commercial fishing claimed more lives than any other single occupation with most work related fishing fatalities occurring as a result of sinking or capsizing of fishing vessels.
  • The construction industry division had both a high number of fatal injuries (136) and the second highest fatal occupational injury rate. More than half of the construction workers fatally injured on the job died as a result of falls.
  • Agriculture (excluding Fishing and Forestry) had the highest fatal occupational injury rate, more than five times the average rate for all industry divisions. Two thirds of the 35 fatalities in the Agriculture industry division involved workers in landscaping and horticultural services.
  • Workers of Hispanic origin had a high rate of fatal occupational injury compared to Black and White workers.
  • Foreign born workers accounted for a high proportion of fatal injuries among workers of color and made up a disproportionate share of the victims of workplace homicide.
  • The great majority of victims (93% were male and male workers had a much higher rate of fatal occupational injury than female workers.
  • The rate of fatal occupational injury increased markedly with the age of the workers.
  • Small establishments (with 19 or fewer employees) had a high fatal occupational injury rate, more than one and a half times the average rate for establishments of all sizes.

The MDPH report is designed to guide the Department and other government agencies, employers, researchers, job trainers, product design engineers and architects who have important roles to play in preventing fatal injuries at work.

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Related Link: www.mass.gov/dph/media/2002/pr0924.htm


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