Division of Labor and Industry


Maryland Workplace Fatalities 2006 - Research and Statistics - Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)


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According to the latest results from the Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program, 105 Maryland workers lost their lives while working on the job in 2006. This represented an 11 percent increase over the previous year's total of 95. The 2006 fatality count was the highest ever recorded in Maryland by the fatality census which has been conducted yearly since 1992.

Key findings of the 2006 Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

  • There were 21 work-related homicides in Maryland during 2006 making these events the most frequent cause of occupationally related death. The number of reported homicides was up from the15 cases reported in 2005.
  • Fatal work injuries due to highway crashes, the most frequent fatal event in 2005, increased from 18 cases to 20 in 2006.
  • Eighteen workers died as the result of falling to a lower level. Of these fall fatalities, six fell from a roof (with three falling through skylights and three falling from a roof's edge). Four workers died when they fell from ladders.
  • Eight workers were killed by vehicles or mobile equipment when they were struck in or on the side of a roadway.
  • Five workers were killed in aircraft crashes.
  • Four workers died after being electrocuted.
  • With 96 deaths recorded, men accounted for 91 percent of the total.
  • In the State's private sector, 53 fatalities were recorded in the services producing industries while 42 cases were recorded the goods producing industries (which include construction and manufacturing). There were ten worker fatalities in the public sector.
  • Thirty-four fatalities were recorded in the construction sector with falls being the leading manner in which the fatality occurred with 14 reported cases. Slightly over three-quarters (26 cases) of the construction fatalities were in the Specialty Trade Contractors sub-sector (NAICS 238).
  • Collectively two occupational groups - the construction and extraction occupations with 27 deaths, and the transportation and material moving occupations with 22 deaths, accounted for 47 percent of the total.
  • Fifty-three percent of the workers who died were white, non-Hispanic (56); 22 percent were black, non-Hispanic (23); 20 percent were Hispanic or Latino (21); and three percent were Asian (3). The most frequent cause of death for white, non-Hispanic workers was a transportation incident, while for black, non-Hispanic workers, an assault and violent act was the most prevalent. Among Hispanic or Latino workers, transportation incidents and falls were the most frequent events.
  • Seventy-three percent of the decedents worked for wages or salaries while 27 percent were self-employed.

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 an Industry and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. CFOI provides a complete count of all fatal work injuries occurring in Maryland and in the United States in each calendar year. The program uses diverse State and Federal data sources to identify, verify and profile fatal work injuries. Information about each workplace fatality (industry, occupation, and other worker characteristics; equipment being used; and circumstances of the event) is obtained by cross-referencing multiple source documents , such as death certificates, workers' compensation reports, news accounts, and reports to State and Federal agencies. Diverse sources are used because studies have shown that no single source captures all job-related fatalities. The documents are matched so that each fatality is counted only once. To ensure that a fatality occurred while the decedent was at work, information is verified from two or more independent source documents. This method assures counts are as complete and accurate as possible.

For a fatality to be included in the census, the decedent must have been employed (that is working for pay, compensation, or profit) at the time of the event, engaged in a legal work activity, or present at the site of the incident as a requirement of his or her job. Fatalities to volunteers and unpaid family workers who perform the same duties and functions as paid workers are also included in the count. These criteria are generally broader than those used by State and Federal agencies administering specific laws and regulations. (Fatalities that occur during a person's normal commute to or from work are excluded from the census count.)

Data presented in this release include deaths occurring in 2006 that resulted from traumatic occupational injuries. An injury is defined as any wound or damage to the body resulting from acute exposure to energy, such as heat, electricity, or impact from a crash or fall, or from the absence of such essentials as heat or oxygen, caused by a specific event or incident within a single workday or shift. Included are open wounds, intracranial and internal injuries, heatstroke, hypothermia, asphyxiation, acute poisonings resulting from short-term exposures limited to the worker's shift, suicides and homicides, and work injuries listed as underlying or contributory causes of death.

The CFOI program presents data for all fatal work injuries, regardless of whether the decedent was working in a job covered under the regulatory oversight of the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Agency or other State and Federal agencies. Thus, any comparison between the Maryland CFOI counts and those released by other agencies should take into account the different coverage requirements and definitions being used by each agency.

Information on work-related fatal illness is not reported in the Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and is excluded from the attached tables because the latency period of many occupational illnesses and the difficulty of linking illnesses to work exposures make identification of a universe problematic.