Arkansas, Louisiana, and West Virginia Have Highest Rates of Workplace Deaths in Southeastern U.S.

November 15, 2016

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), researchers found that one U.S. region with a particularly high fatal injury rate is the Southeast with 5.2 work-related injury deaths per 100,000 workers, compared with 3.8 nationwide.

To understand this disparity, NIOSH investigators and state health departments analyzed 2008–2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries on work-related injuries in 12 southeastern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

According to their report published in the peer-reviewed journal Workplace Health & Safety, the three southeastern states that had the highest rates of work-related deaths were Arkansas at 7.2 deaths per 100,000 workers, Louisiana at 6.8, and West Virginia at 6.6.

In addition, more than 20 percent of workers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia worked in the high-fatality rate industries of agriculture, construction, mining, and transportation.

Transportation-related events were the most common cause of work-related injury deaths, both nationally and in the Southeast, followed by contact with objects and equipment, violence, falls, exposure to harmful substances or environments, and fires and explosions.

These findings indicate that more research is necessary to understand the underlying causes of the high rates of work-related injury deaths observed in these southeastern states.

According to the investigators, this kind of research will provide a way for diverse partners in the southeastern United States to address these critical occupational safety and health issues.

Source: NIOSH Research Rounds

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