Numbers of Fla. Workplace Fatalities Drops in 2002

November 14, 2003

According to a joint federal and state survey, Florida workplaces had 4 percent fewer fatal accidents in 2002 than the previous year.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), conducted annually by the Department of Financial Services in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, reported a total of 354 work-related fatalities in 2002.

Transportation incidents were the leading cause of work-related deaths, representing 47 percent of all fatal injuries. There were as many deaths related to assaults and violent acts as there were deaths due to exposure to harmful substances or environments, making those tied as the second leading causes of death in the workplace.

Ninety-two percent of deaths occurred among males. Occupational fatalities among workers 65 years and older were up by 45 percent from 2001. Conversely, the age group recording the highest number of fatalities, workers 35-44 years, reported 16 less incidents than in 2001.

Fatalities among Hispanic workers increased again in 2002 for the fourth year. Hispanics represented 28 percent of the total number of fatalities in 2002 compared to 23 percent in 2001.

Work-related deaths among whites and blacks decreased in 2002 by 15 percent and 25 percent respectively.

The construction industry continues to record the highest number of fatal injuries of any major industry, increasing 13 percent over last year’s survey. Ninety-nine workers in the construction industry died on the job in 2002, with a majority of deaths resulting from transportation incidents and falls. However, fatalities resulting from falls declined for the first time since 1997, with a drop of 21 percent.

Operators, fabricators and laborers had more fatalities on the job than any other occupational group. Of the 122 fatalities occurring among these workers, 62 occurred among employees classified as working in transportation and material-moving occupations such as truck drivers, driver-sales workers, and taxicab drivers.

The CFOI uses a variety of state and federal data sources to identify, verify and profile work-related fatalities. The census is intended to be a tool for safety promotion, training, resource allocation, standards assessment and hazard alertness.

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