Alaska Workplace Fatalities Down 42.5%

May 13, 2011

Alaska has seen a significant decrease in workplace fatalities — down 42.5 percent from the previous decade — according to the epidemiology branch of the state Division of Public Health.

According to the Division, during 2000–2009, 379 work-related fatalities were identified in Alaska. In Alaska, the occupations with the most fatalities and the events/exposures leading to traumatic deaths have not changed much. But fatality rates among crab fishermen have declined by 60 percent since 1999, and the number of work-related fatalities from civilian aviation crashes has declined by 50 percent from the 1990s to the early 2000s.

The leading events or exposures for work-related fatalities in both Alaska and the United States were transportation incidents (i.e., land, air, and water). However, Alaska has unique hazards that require specific interventions. For example, in Alaska, water and air transportation are the major contributors within this category, while in the U.S. overall, these types of transportation events accounted for only 5 percent and 9 percent of transportation fatalities, respectively, the Division said.

Employers and insurers spent nearly $79 billion on workers’ compensation in 2008 in the United States Those expenditures represent only a portion of the costs borne by employers, workers, and society overall as a result of work-related injuries and fatalities.

Alaska has consistently had one of the highest work-related fatality rates in the nation.

Source: Alaska Division of Public Health

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