Division of Labor and Industry


Maryland Workplace Fatalities 2004 - Research and Statistics - Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)


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Key findings from the Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2004:

  • Eighty-one Maryland workers lost their lives while on the job during 2004. This was an overall decline of 12 percent from the previous year's total of 92 and was the fourth lowest recording for the State since the inception of the fatality census program in 1992. Nationally, fatal work injuries increased 2 percent from 5,575 deaths in 2003 to 5,703 for 2004.
  • Since 1996, transportation related events have been the most frequent cause of death for Maryland's workers. There were 34 of these incidents in 2004 representing 42 percent of the total.
  • The second leading cause for a workplace fatality in Maryland in 2004 was contact with objects and equipment. There were 18 reported cases, doubling the number reported in 2003. Seven of these deaths were the result of an employee being struck by a falling object. Another three workers were killed when they were caught in running equipment or machinery and another three died as the result of being caught or crushed in a collapsing structure.
  • Work injuries involving falls were the third leading fatality event and were down 27 percent from 15 recorded deaths in 2003 to 11 in 2004.
  • Assaults and violent acts, the second most frequent event category for worker fatalities in Maryland in 2003, declined from 17 to 10 deaths in 2004 and is now the fourth most frequent cause of fatal workplace injuries. This represented a 41 percent reduction from the previous year and was the fewest number of deaths on record for this category in the State in the 13 years of the program's existence.
  • From 1992 through 2004, 1,098 Maryland workers have lost their lives while on the job. Of that total, eight were minors 17 years of age or younger.
  • In the United States during 2004 there were 5,703 fatal work related injuries recorded. Of these, 25 minors between the ages of 16 and 17 lost their lives while on the job.
  • Fifty-three percent of those who died while on the job were white, non-Hispanic (43); 20 percent were black, non-Hispanic (16); and 6 percent were Asian (5). For the past two years (2003 and 2004), the cumulative leading cause of death for whites, blacks and Hispanics was transportation incidents. The primary cause of death for Asians was assaults and violent acts.
  • Workplace fatalities among Hispanic workers increased almost 55 percent from the 11 reported in 2003 to 17 in 2004. They represented 21 percent of the total number of Maryland workplace deaths. Nationally, Hispanic fatalities rose 11 percent.
  • Ninety percent (73) of the deceased workers were men. Eight women died while working on the job for the second year in a row.
  • The number of fatal work injuries in the construction sector declined slightly from 28 recorded in 2003 to 27 in 2004. They represented one third of the total fatalities. More than three quarters (21) of the deaths were in the Specialty Trade Contractors sub sector (NAICS 238). Four worked in Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (NAICS sub sector 237).
  • Of the 55 fatalities occurring in the construction sector from 2003 to 2004, 15 deaths involved contact with objects and equipment; 14 were due to falls; and 13 were transportation incidents.
  • Maryland's state and local government reported 8 fatalities. Four of these were in the protective service occupations.
  • Two industry sectors made up slightly over one-half of all workplace fatalities in Maryland. They were construction (NAICS 23) with 27 recorded deaths and transportation and warehousing (NAICS 48-49) with 18 registered workplace fatalities.
  • Seven Maryland workers died from exposure to harmful substances or environments; three of whom died from electrocutions.

Technical Notes

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (CFOI) is a cooperative program between the State of Maryland, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Division of Labor and Industry and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. CFOI provides a complete count of fatal work injuries. The program uses diverse State and Federal data sources to identify, verify, and profile fatal work injuries. Information about each workplace fatality (occupation and other worker characteristics, equipment being used, and the circumstances of the event) is obtained by cross-referencing source documents such as death certificates, workers' compensation records, and reports to State and Federal agencies. This method assures counts are as complete and accurate as possible.