Work-Related Fatalities Increased in Texas in 2009

September 15, 2010

Texas recorded a preliminary total of 480 work-related fatalities in 2009, a 4 percent increase compared to the revised 2008 total of 463 fatalities.the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation has reported.

Nationally, there were 4,340 fatal work injuries in 2009, a decrease of 17 percent from the revised total in 2008, according to the most recently available data released on Aug. 19, 2010, by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).

Although transportation incidents continued to be the leading cause of fatalities (163 incidents), there was a decline of 21 percent from 2008. Despite the decline in transportation incidents as a whole, non-highway incidents rose from 7 in 2008 to 22 in 2009; a 214 percent increase. More than half (54 percent) of the non-highway incidents occurred at an industrial or a farm premise.

Following transportation incidents, assaults and violent acts was the second highest cause of fatalities (93 incidents) an increase of 22 percent from 2008. Workplace homicides experienced an increase of 24 percent (68 incidents) from 2008. The homicide total for 2009 includes the 13 victims of the November shooting at Fort Hood.

Workplace suicides also experienced an increase of 21 percent from 2008 and the highest number (23 incidents) since 2003.

The motive for 38 percent of the homicides was robbery; a firearm was used in 82 percent of the incidents. The employee tending a retail establishment, such as a convenience store or pawn shop, was a victim in 40 percent of the homicides.

Fatalities resulting from falls increased by 44 percent and were the third leading cause of fatalities (17 percent). The total of 82 fatalities in this category was the highest total since 2003 (52 incidents). Hispanic or Latino employees were involved in 60 percent of the falls. More than two thirds of the falls occurred in the construction industry (67 percent). Thirty-nine percent of the employees involved in falls were self-employed.

Construction trades occupations experienced the largest number of fatalities in Texas in 2009 (101 incidents). This was a 20 percent increase from 2008. Forty-five percent of those fatalities were due to falls and 65 percent of those employees were Hispanic or Latino. The Hispanic or Latino fatalities (66 incidents) in this occupation group is the highest since 2003 (43 incidents) and it is also the highest percent (65 percent) since 2003 (59 percent).

The second leading occupational group was motor vehicle operators (77 incidents). Unlike construction trades occupations, this group experienced a 29 percent decrease in fatalities from 2008 (108 incidents). Eighty-six percent of those fatalities were due to transportation accidents; 58 percent of the employees involved were White, non-Hispanic.

Women accounted for 5 percent of the total fatalities (25 incidents) in Texas in 2009. They were involved in fatal transportation incidents in 44 percent of the cases (11 incidents) and were victims of an assault or a violent act in 36 percent of the cases (9 incidents).

The leading cause of fatalities among men was transportation incidents with 152 incidents (33 percent), followed by assaults and violent acts with 84 incidents (18 percent).

White, non-Hispanic employees accounted for 50 percent (238 incidents) of the total fatalities, Hispanic or Latinos accounted for 39 percent (185 incidents), and Black, non-Hispanics accounted for 9 percent (43 incidents).

The TDI-DWC provides various safety and health services to assist employers in providing safe and healthy workplaces, including free safety and health consultations on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; regional and onsite safety training; free safety training DVD/video loans; the Safety Violations Hotline; and free safety and health publications.

Source: TDI-DWC

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