NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :65
Traumatic occupational injuries claimed the lives of over 30,000 American workers from 1990-1995 as reported through the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system. Fatalities represent the worst possible outcome for a worker and the highest burden to society. According to the National Safety Council, the median value of life lost to occupational fatality in 1997 was $890,000. As with nearly all other studies, these losses are an aggregate value and shed no light on the variations in costs for differing worker characteristics or circumstances of the event. The ability to make these distinctions can aid in prioritizing efforts to prevent these devastating events. Numerous theoretical models to measure the cost of occupational fatalities to society have been developed. The cost of illness method is the most commonly adopted approach for legal proceedings and formal policy analyses. This method is divided into two components, direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are actual dollar expenditures associated with the fatality while indirect cost is the value of lost output due to decreased productivity. The value of productivity losses can be calculated using a Human Capital approach by determining the present value of a future stream of output valued at market earnings. This project developed a user-friendly computer program to calculate the Human Capital cost of fatal injuries reported through NTOF. The model provides comprehensive national estimates for the economic burden of all occupational fatal injuries and specific estimates for the burden on selected groups (e.g., specific industries, occupation groups, and teenage workers). Finally, this model provides an additional reliable basis, economic risk, for targeting and evaluating the effectiveness of investments in prevention of occupational fatalities.