Division of Labor and Industry


Maryland Workplace Fatalities 2008 - Research and Statistics - Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)


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Maryland Workplace Fatalities Decline in 2008

Fatal work-related injuries in Maryland totaled 60 in 2008. This represents a 27 percent decline from the previous year's total of 82 fatalities and is the lowest count for the State since the program's inception in 1992. (See table 1 - Word document, 58KB, download Word viewer for free.)

Key findings of the 2008 Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

  • The most frequent types of workplace fatalities in 2008 were falls to a lower level (9), homicides (9), contact with electric current (8), and highway incidents (7); these four types of events accounted for 55 percent of the deaths in the State.
  • Work-related fatalities resulting from falls to a lower level decreased from 12 in 2007 to 9 in 2008. Workplace homicides decreased from 17 to 9 during the same period. Falls to a lower level and homicides each accounted for 15 percent of fatal work injuries in Maryland in 2008; nationally, falls to a lower level and homicides accounted for 11 and 10 percent, respectively.
  • The 8 fatalities resulting from contact with electric current was the highest level recorded since 1992 when 15 fatalities were reported. Contact with electric current accounted for 13 percent of Maryland's and 4 percent of the nations' occupational fatalities in 2008.
  • The number of fatalities resulting from highway incidents decreased from 15 in 2007 down to 7 in 2008. This is the lowest level recorded for this type of event in the State since the series began in 1992.
  • Other types of fatal work-related events in the State during 2008 included being caught in or compressed by equipment or objects (5); pedestrian incidents (5); and aircraft incidents (5). Together, these three events were responsible for one-quarter of the fatal work injuries in Maryland during 2008.
  • Representing 95 percent of the total, men accounted 57 of the work-related fatalities in the State. The three fatalities involving women workers represented a two-thirds decline from the previous year's total for that gender.
  • Sixty percent of those who died from a workplace injury in Maryland were white, non-Hispanic (36); 22 percent were black, non-Hispanic (13); and 17 percent were Hispanic or Latino (10). The most frequent cause of death for white, non-Hispanic workers was a transportation related event. Black, non-Hispanic workers died most frequently from assaults and violent acts and half of Hispanic or Latino workers died from falls.
  • Three-quarters of the workers killed on the job worked for wages and salaries, the rest were self-employed. The leading cause of death for a wage and salary worker was a transportation incident (14). Transportation incidents and contact with objects and equipment (4 fatalities each) accounted for 53 percent of the fatal injuries among self-employed workers.
  • The Construction industry sector recorded the most fatalities. Fatalities for Construction increased from 18 cases in 2007 to 20 cases in 2008. Sixty percent of these were in the Specialty Trade Contractors sub-sector with 12 cases. Eight workers in State and Local Government were killed on the job with half of those involving State government employees in transportation incidents.
  • The goods producing sector had 27 fatalities. The leading manner of death was a fall or exposure to a harmful substance or environment, each with 7 cases.
  • The service providing sector had 25 fatalities, with the leading manner of death: an assault or violent act with 8 reported cases.

Table 1, Total workplace fatalities in Maryland, 1992 - 2008
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Table 2, Workplace fatalities in Maryland by selected industries, 2008

Table 2, Workplace fatalities in Maryland by selected 
    industries, 2008

NOTE: the fatality total includes industry categories not shown separately.


Table 3, Workplace fatalities by event or exposure in Maryland, 2008

Table 3, Workplace fatalities by event or exposure 
    in Maryland, 2008


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 media 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 counts.)

Data presented in this release include deaths occurring in 2008 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 illnesses is not reported in the Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries because the latency period associated with many types of occupational illness, and the difficulty of linking those illnesses to work exposures, make identification of a universe problematic.