On the heels of Workers’ Memorial Day, a coalition of safety groups has released the U.S. Worker Fatality Database, with accompanying maps and infographics.
The database, which shows the names, people and stories behind statistical reports of deaths on the job, is the largest open-access data set of individual workplace fatalities ever collected in the United States.
It identifies more than 1,780 workplace fatalities in 2014, with additional data still being collected. Based on previous data, this is likely to represent over one-third of the total cases of workplace deaths from traumatic events for that year.
Who died and how
“To prevent future tragedies, we need to know all we can about who died on the job, and under what circumstances,” said Bethany Boggess of Global Worker Watch.
The final toll for 2013, released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 4,585 deaths on the job from sudden traumatic events. An additional 50,000 workers are expected to die each year from long-term exposure to toxic chemicals and other occupational hazards.
Why a database?
The database was created when workplace safety advocates, seeking information about workers killed in their state, region or local community, found that important details about these tragic cases were not consistently available.
The result: More specific detail than the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from the BLS, including, where available, the name of the deceased, employer and circumstances of death. The database contains links to sources of public documents related to the incidents on how and where workers were killed, including OSHA reports and news media accounts.
How to use it
The data can be sorted by age, gender, city, state, industry and keywords such as “fall elevation,” “electrocuted,” “explosion” and other terms linked to the cause of death.
Using the accompanying map function on the Tableau Public platform, maps showing the incidence of fatalities can be zoomed and captured by industry and by individual states. These maps are licensed under Creative Commons, and can be modified, reproduced and redistributed, with credit to: U.S. Workers Fatality Database.
The database is a joint effort of workplace safety groups and advocates, including:
- National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH)
- Center for Construction Research and Training
- Fe Y Justicia
- Global Worker Watch
- Knox Area Worker Memorial Day Committee
- Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH)
- Northeastern New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH)
- United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities (USMWF)
- Beyond OSHA Project
National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. “Not an Accident: Preventable Deaths 2015,” a National COSH report, describes workplace fatalities in the United States and how they can be prevented. For more information, visit coshnetwork.org.
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