Occupational Fatalities Decreased in Texas in 2004

August 26, 2005

The Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission reported that in 2004, Texas recorded the second lowest number of occupational fatalities since data collection began in 1990. A total of 440 fatal occupational injuries occurred, a decrease of 10 percent from 2003, according to data released today by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).

There were 5,703 fatalities in the U.S. in 2004, an increase of 2 percent from the revised total of 5,575 fatal work injuries reported in 2003.

In Texas in 2004, a total of 194 persons were killed in transportation incidents — the leading cause of occupational fatalities last year. The number of deaths resulting from assaults and violent acts declined 40 percent compared to 2003 and the total of 54 fatalities in this category was the lowest total in the 13-year history of the fatality census (Chart 2).

The Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission compiles detailed information on all work-related fatalities occurring in Texas for the CFOI, a program jointly administered with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Commission annually releases total fatality counts and descriptive data in an effort to prevent fatal work-related injuries and to promote occupational safety.

Causes of Fatalities

Transportation incidents accounted for 44 percent of the total occupational fatalities in Texas in 2004 (Table 2). This was a 3 percent decrease from 2003. Despite the reduction in the number of fatalities in transportation incidents overall, fatalities that resulted from highway incidents increased slightly (3 percent) for the second year in a row (compared to a 10 percent increase in 2003). Sixty-two percent of all transportation incidents occurred on highways; 14 percent were aircraft related, and 12 percent involved pedestrian workers who were struck by vehicles or mobile equipment. Forty-three percent of the transportation incident fatalities occurred in the transportation and material moving occupations.

Following transportation incidents, contact with objects and equipment accounted for the second highest percentage of fatalities (18 percent). The number of fatalities involving contact with objects and equipment increased by 10 percent from 2003. Forty-four percent of these fatalities occurred in the construction and extraction occupations.

Of the 54 occupational fatalities in 2004 caused by assaults and violent acts (Chart 2), 24 percent occurred in the sales and related occupations. At a national level, there were 795 fatalities resulting from assaults and violent acts. There were 35 occupational fatalities caused by exposure to harmful substances and environments in Texas in 2004, a 31 percent decline compared to 2003. Nationally, there were 459 fatalities in this category; construction and extraction occupations fatalities accounted for 40 percent of these U.S. occupational fatalities


The occupation with the largest number of fatalities in 2004 was construction trades workers (19 percent), with one-third of the total fatalities due to falls. The second leading occupation was motor vehicle operators (16 percent) and 79 percent of those fatalities were due to transportation incidents.

Worker Demographics

Women accounted for 7 percent of the total fatalities. Women were victims of transportation incidents in 52 percent of the cases, and the victims of assaults and violent acts in 34 percent of the cases. Transportation incidents were the leading cause of fatalities involving men (44 percent), followed by contact with objects and equipment (19 percent). Twenty-four percent of all fatalities were experienced by workers between 25 and 34 years of age, regardless of gender. White non-Hispanic workers comprised 54 percent of the total; Hispanics accounted for 34 percent, and black non-Hispanics accounted for 9

Fatality Prevention

To encourage injury and illness prevention in the workplace, the Commission’s Workers’ Health and Safety Division provides safety programs and services, including free safety and health consultations, free safety publications and video loans, and low-cost safety training.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Commission at (512) 804-4200 or by e-mail at injury.analysis@twcc.state.tx.us.

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