NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2003 Oct; :15
Occupational injuries claimed the lives of nearly 50,000 American workers from 1992-1999 as reported through the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) surveillance system. Occupational fatality counts describe only a portion of the burden to the worker, industry, and society. Measuring the economic loss of fatalities adds a valuable dimension to targeting efforts as well as a tool for assessing cost savings of prevention efforts. This research developed an interactive computer program that unlike earlier works derives the economic burden using a bottom-up-approach-summing the cost of each individual fatality based on the decedent's characteristics as reported by CFOI. The model, consistent with the human capital theory, provides national and state estimates for the economic burden of occupational injury fatalities for selected groups such as specific industries, occupation groups, and minority workers.Over the study period, the total cost to society for occupational injury fatalities was $33 billion, ranging from about $5 billion in 1994 to nearly $41/2 billion in 1999. The mean cost for this period was $784,189 and the median was $791,556. Mean costs ranged from $761,724 in 1999 to $806,892 in 1992. The highest total costs of fatal occupational injury were in the construction industry-$7 billion, or about 20% of the overall burden both in costs and number of fatalities. The public administration industry had the highest mean cost of fatalities with just over $ 1 million and the agriculture industry had the lowest mean cost with $557,371. Similarly, the mean cost of fatalities by occupational group ranged from $1.1 million in managerial and professional specialties to $459,330 in farming, forestry, and fishing. Costs were also estimated by case and worker characteristics. Cost estimates provide additional information about how injuries affect society. They can improve injury prevention and control program planning, policy analysis, evaluation, and advocacy.