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Work-Related Fatalities Increase to 54 in 2004

For immediate release
November 28, 2005

WETHERSFIELD - On the job injuries cost 54 lives in this state during 2004, according to a report compiled by the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA).  

“That figure is up 18 from the previous year, making Connecticut one of 27 states to report an increase from 2003,” notes State Labor Commissioner Shaun B. Cashman. “The loss of even one life on the job is one loss too many. This increase has reinforced CONN-OSHA’s commitment to ensure workplace safety for the workers of this state.”  

“The largest change can be seen in fatal falls,” explains Research Analyst Erin Wilkins. “In 2003 Connecticut lost four lives to workplace falls, but that number jumped to 16 fatal falls in 2004. However, neither the increase in fatal falls nor the overall increase in fatalities can be attributed to any one event or cause.” 

The Connecticut Department of Labor collects data annually on workplace fatalities; these data are included in the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics’ census with a goal of identifying and solving safety issues.  Work-related fatal illnesses often occur years after an exposure has occurred and are difficult to link to specific work conditions.  Thus, they are not reported in the census.  Detailed information on Connecticut work-injury fatalities is available in the tables below; data for 2004 include:

  • Consistently the cause of most work injury fatalities, transportation accidents claimed 17 lives (32 percent) in 2004. This number is unchanged from 2003.

  • Falls claimed 16 lives (30 percent), followed by homicides with 8 fatalities (15 percent), and work injuries involving contact with objects or equipment with 6 fatalities (11 percent); 

  • By age, employees in the 25 to 34 year-old category represented the largest number of deaths with 16 work-injury fatalities (30 percent);

  • Construction and extraction workers, the occupational category to lose the most workers, had 20 work-injury fatalities (37 percent), 13 of which were due to falls;

  • While the workforce is rather evenly distributed (52% male in 2000), men accounted for 96 percent (52) of the work injury deaths. 

Connecticut began recording work-related deaths in 1992. Since then, the state has averaged 41 work-related deaths per year. The greatest recorded loss was experienced in 1998 with 57 deaths, followed by 55 deaths in 2000 and 54 deaths in 2004.  The year 2002 saw 39 fatalities, which was followed by 36 fatalities in 2003.   

National Data

A total of 5,703 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2004, an increase of two percent from the 5,575 fatal work injuries reported for 2003. Despite the increase, the total for 2004 was the third lowest annual total recorded by the fatality census, which as been conducted each year since 1992. The rate at which fatal work injuries occurred in 2004 was 4.1 per Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office0,000 workers, up slightly from a rate of 4.0 per Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office0,000 workers in 2002 and 2003. 

Workplace homicides claimed 551 lives in 2004, the lowest level ever recorded by the fatality census. Conversely, 815 fatal falls represented the highest annual total reported in the census for this event. The state of Texas had the highest number of work injury fatalities at 440; Vermont and Rhode Island experienced the least number of work injury fatalities with 7 deaths each. 

Transportation and material moving occupations accounted for 1,490 work injury fatalities and construction and extraction occupations accounted for 1,129 fatalities. Together, these two occupational groups accounted for nearly half (46 percent) of all the fatal work injuries in 2004.

Logging workers, along with aircraft pilots and flight engineers, experienced the highest rates of fatal work injuries: 92.4 per Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office0,000 workers. Fishers and related fishing workers followed with a rate of 86.4 per Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office0,000 workers. Industry sectors were classified with the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). 

American work-injury fatalities reached an annual high of 8,801 in 2001; the events of September 11th accounted for 2,886 of these deaths.  In order to accurately compare work-injury fatalities, and thereby identify unsafe working conditions, the deaths from September 11th have not been included in annual comparisons. 

Detailed information on the national figures can be found at http:www.bls.gov/iif 

Attachments:

Media Contact: Nancy Steffens

Safety and Health Statistics

Last Updated: October 24, 2016


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