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Workplace Injuries and Fatalities in Texas

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Despite having laws on occupational health and safety, injuries and fatalities still occur even in the workplace. In the 2010 report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a total of 456 fatalities were recorded in Texas alone. Looking at this number in the bigger picture, this figure has, in fact, already improved compared to the previous years. In year 2000, the total number of people who died because of workplace accidents was as high as 572. The lowest number of fatalities that Texas has recorded was in 2002 with only 417.

For the nationwide statistics, 2010 preliminary reports show that there were 4,547 fatal injuries that occurred in the workplace all over United States. This is almost the same number of fatalities of 4,551 recorded in 2009, according to the reports from Census of Fatal Occupation Injuries or CFOI program.

What are the main causes of workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities?

Highway incidents recorded the most number of fatalities from workplace accidents in 2010 with 134 deaths. This is significantly higher than the 106 deaths recorded in 2009. However, the 2010 fatality rate is almost the same in the records from 2005 until 2008. This is also true in the entire United States. As a matter of fact, highway incidents account for at least 21 percent of the total workplace-related fatalities. Nevertheless, it is an unfortunate fact that Texas remains to be above the national average of workplace-related fatalities incidence rate.

On the job fatalities because of homicides are also among the main contributors of workplace-related deaths in Texas. Even though that the incidence rate decline in 2010, in terms of its percentage share to the total number of fatalities, there were still 48 deaths that happened in the workplace.

Fatal injuries due to falling to a lower level are also among the main causes of workplace-related deaths in the country. In 2010, the number of deaths was only recorded at 75, which is lower from the 45 deaths recorded a year before.  In the national level, this cause of workplace fatalities accounts for 11 percent of the total workplace-related deaths. Texas has similar percentage share.

Moreover, there are also people who died because they were struck by an equipment or object in the workplace. There were 35 deaths recorded in 2010, which is just a unit lower compared to the deaths in 2009. Nationwide, this category accounts for nine percent, compared to eight percent in Texas.

What do the demographic characteristics of these fatalities tell?

Men are mostly the victims of workplace-related fatalities, with 93 percent in Texas, totalling to 426. Around 42 percent of the said fatalities are accountable to transportation incidents. In terms of the age profile, the working age group (25-54 years old) account for 297 or 65 percent of the fatalities in the same year. Looking at these numbers on a nationwide scale, workers in this age group account for around 60 percent of the total number of workplace-related deaths.

Further, 86 percent of those fatalities are wage-workers while the others are self-employed.