Division of Labor and Industry


Maryland Workplace Fatalities 2005 - Research and Statistics - Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)


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Key findings from the Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

  • A total of 95 Maryland workers lost their lives while on the job during 2005. This was a 17 percent increase over the previous year's total of 81 fatalities.
  • Since 1996, incidents associated with transportation accidents have been the leading cause of on-the-job fatality for Maryland's workforce. There were 31 of these incidents in 2005 which represented a slight decrease from the 34 reported cases in 2004. Transportation related fatalities represented one-third of the State-wide fatality count. A subcategory under "transportation events" is "highway accidents" which accounted for 18 deaths. Highway accidents represented almost one-fifth of all the worker fatalities. Another transportation event subcategory, "pedestrian, nonpassenger struck by vehicle, mobile equipment" accounted for 10 deaths. These workers were killed when they were struck by a motor vehicle or some type of mobile equipment. Three of these cases occurred in highway construction work zones. Nationally, highway accidents accounted for one in every four work-related deaths during 2005.
  • There were 23 fatalities due to assaults and violent acts during 2005 making this the second leading cause of death for Maryland workers. The number of work-related assaults and violent acts more than doubled from the previous year. In 2005, there were 15 worker deaths caused by homicides and five were suicides.
  • Fatal work injuries due to falls were the third leading event in the State. These fatalities increased from 11 cases reported in 2004 to 19 cases in 2005. Sixteen of the cases in 2005 involved the worker falling to a lower level. Ten, or slightly more than half of all the falls, were in the construction industry sector; five construction workers died when they fell from ladders and another three fell from roofs.
  • Deaths due to contact with objects and equipment decreased from 18 reported cases in 2004 to 16 in 2005. Ten of the deaths in 2005 were the result of an employee being struck by a falling object. Another four workers were killed when they were caught in or compressed by running equipment or objects.
  • Four Maryland workers died in 2005 due to exposure to harmful substances or environments; three of them were electrocuted when they came into contact with overhead power lines.
  • Since 1992, 1,193 Maryland workers have lost their lives while performing on the job. Of that total nine were minors 17 years of age or younger.
  • There were 5,702 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2005. Of these, 54 were minors 17 years of age or younger.
  • In Maryland, 59 percent of those who died while on the job were white, non-Hispanic (56 cases); 22 percent were black, non-Hispanic (21cases); nine percent were Asian (nine cases) and eight percent were Hispanic or Latino (eight cases). From 2004 through 2005, transportation incidents were the leading cause of work related death for white non-Hispanic, black non-Hispanic and Hispanic workers while assaults and violent acts were the primary cause of death for Asian workers.
  • In Maryland, workplace fatalities among Hispanic workers fell 53 percent from 17 reported cases in 2004 to eight in 2005. Nationally, during the same period, Hispanic fatalities accounted for 16 percent of the total fatalities and represented a two percent increase over 2004.
  • In Maryland from 2003 through 2005, Hispanic or Latino workers represented 28 percent (22 cases) of all the fatalities in the construction sector.
  • Men, whose 90 worker fatalities represented 95 percent of the 2005 total accounted for 52 percent of the State's workforce during 2004, the most recent year employment data are available.*
  • In 2005, 72 percent (68 cases) of the deceased were wage and salary workers while 28 percent (27 cases) were self-employed. In 2004, self-employed workers represented approximately eight percent of the State's workforce. **
  • Fatal work injuries in the construction sector declined from 27 cases in 2004 to 23 in 2005. Fatalities in this industry sector represented almost one in four of Maryland's total worker fatality count in 2005. Almost two-thirds (15 cases) of the construction related deaths were in the Specialty Trade Contractors subsector (NAICS 238). Five of the fatalities occurred in the Construction of Buildings subsector (NAICS 236) and three worked in the Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction subsector (NAICS 237).
  • Of the 79 fatalities occurring in the construction sector from 2003 through 2005, 24 workers died from falls to a lower level; 15 from being struck by an object, eight from highway incidents, seven from the worker being struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment and seven from contact with electric current.
  • Combined, Maryland's state and local governments reported eight worker fatalities in 2005.
  • From an occupational perspective, the transportation and material moving occupations had the highest number of fatalities at 30 followed by construction and extraction occupations with 22; together, these two groups accounted for 55 percent of all the worker fatalities in Maryland.
  • Transportation events were the leading cause of fatal injury in the transportation and material moving occupations with 18 reported cases, while falls with 11 cases, accounted half of the fatalities for the construction and extraction occupations.

SOURCE: *Employment data derived from the BLS Current Population Survey (CPS) Program, 2004 and the MD DLLR Office of Labor Market Analysis and Information.

**The BLS Current Population Survey, 2004 and the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Programs

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 all 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.

Information on work-related fatal illnesses is not reported in the BLS census because of the latency period of many occupational illnesses and the difficulty of linking illnesses to work exposures make identification of a universe problematic.