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New study reveals economic cost of workplace deaths (1/25)

January 25, 2011
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Workplace fatalities cost the United States $53 billion dollars from 1992-2001, according to a study just released by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Based on statistics from a joint state-federal program that records and manages data on fatal occupational injuries, the study reveals the economic impact work-related loss of life in the U.S. It focused only on civilian workers.

The cost of worker fatalities is a “severe toll on our nation’s workers, institutions, communities and the nation itself,” said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, in a foreword.

In the decade covered by the study, 64,333 workers died from injuries sustained while working, with California taking the biggest economic hit ($5.4 billion) from that death toll, and Vermont the smallest ($95 million).

Transportation accidents accounted for the highest societal costs ($23 billion), followed by assaults and violent acts ($9.4 billion), and Contact with Objects and Equipment ($7.9 billion).

The majority (92%) of the occupational injury fatalities involved males, with total societal costs of $49 billion, while females reported costs of $4 billion. The age group with the largest share of occupational fatalities (25%) and the largest share of the total societal cost of occupational injury fatalities (32%) was the 35–44-year-old age group, closely followed by the 25–34-year-old age group (21%, 27%) and the 45–54 (21%, 22%) year-old age group.

While total societal costs began declining in 1997 for white workers, the study indicated that there was no comparable trend for minority workers.

The complete report is available at: www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-130/pdfs/afinal.pdf.

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