Causes of Death in the Workplace

Causes of Death in the Workplace

Causes of Death in the Workplace

Causes of Death in the Workplace


How dangerous is someone's job? People from ages 22 through 64 spend roughly 40% of their non-sleeping time at a job where there is considerable potential for exposure to fatal safety and health risks. The purpose of this book is to improve the knowledge and working environment of American workers, by providing an in-depth look at the job hazards in 324 industries and 265 occupations. Human Resource managers, industry trade organizations, corporate CEOs, health care administrators, secondary school counselors, as well as, scholars and upper level college and graduate students in the areas of Human Resources, Management, Health Care Management, Law and Social Environment will find this work extremely useful.


This chapter is divided into three sections. The first deals with foreign studies, the second with small U.S. regional studies, and the last with studies that use large data sets that are reasonably representative of the entire United States. Some of the studies attempt to rank occupations or industries by job-related death rates. Rarely are these occupations and industries recorded at the 3-digit level.


Ronald Meng (1991), using four years of data from Canada, investigated 482 occupations. He found roughly 1,000 deaths per year in Canada. Occupations at the top of the death rate list include miners, motormen, pilots, general laborers, insulation workers, lumberjacks, commercial sailors, fishermen, hunters, and iron workers. Meng's most dangerous industries include forestry, mining, and construction. He also found that unionization is higher in those industries with high rather than low fatality rates.

Marin and Psacharopoulos' (1982) data from England indicate that electricians, bricklayers, deckhands, miners, and general laborers are in especially dangerous jobs. Marin and Psacharopoulos investigated only the top 20 occupations, however.

Harrison et al. (1989) studied 1,544 Australian fatalities. Their study estimates the overall Australian job-related death rate to be 8.06 per 100,000 in 1982-4 with the rate for men at 12 per 100,000 versus 1.3 per 100,000 for women. The Harrison et al. (1989) study indicates that industries, such as mining, transportation, and farming, are especially hazardous. In New Zealand, fishermen, hunters, general laborers, pilots, and miners were identified as dangerous occupations during 1974 to 1978.

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