September 11 attacks skew statistics on workplace fatalities
A total of 2,886 work-related fatalities resulted from the events of Sept. 11. Excluding those fatalities, the overall workplace fatality count was 5,900 for 2001.
Most of the people killed in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon were at work (as defined by the fatality census), on business travel, or were crew aboard the commercial airliners that crashed, or were involved in rescue duties.
Of the fatally injured workers in the World Trade Center, 66% were between the ages of 25 and 44, 9% were black, 10% were Hispanic, and 26% were women. Of those working in the Pentagon office building, 54% were between 25 and 44 years old, 33% were black, 4% were Hispanic, and 37% were women.
Overall, two-thirds of the workers fatally injured on Sept. 11 were over 34 years old and 23% were women. Almost 20% of the workers were foreign-born.
About the sameExcluding the fatalities on Sept. 11, the overall workplace fatality count of 5,900 for 2001 was down less than 1% from 2000. Total employment also declined slightly in 2001. As a result, the occupational fatality rate was the same in 2001 and in 2000, 4.3 fatalities per 100,000 employed.
The construction industry, with fatalities at their highest level since the fatality census was first conducted in 1992, continued to report the largest number of fatal work injuries of any industry. From 2000 to 2001, decreases in fatalities from transportation incidents and job-related homicides were offset by increases in fatalities from falls and from electrocutions.
Fatalities resulting from transportation incidents decreased for the third year in a row, from 2,573 in 2000 to 2,517 in 2001. Highway incidents, however, increased about 3% from 2000 and continued to be the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities.
Fatal work injuries resulting from workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment also increased slightly in 2001. In contrast, the number of workers killed in non-highway incidents, aircraft incidents, and railway incidents decreased. Non-highway fatal incidents, which include tractor and forklift overturns, were at their lowest levels since the census began.
Work-related homicides, at 639 (excluding Sept. 11), fell to their lowest levels since the census began. The record high was 1,080 in 1994. Homicides among technical, sales, and administrative support workers decreased 14% to 203 fatalities. However, homicides increased sharply among workers in service occupations, which include police and detectives, food preparation workers, barbers, and hairdressers. The number of workplace suicides and fatal assaults by animals increased slightly.
Fatalities resulting from falls increased to 808 in 2001, a 10% rise over 2000 levels. This was the highest total since the fatality census began. Falls to lower levels increased by 39 to 698 in 2001. Falls on the same level increased by 28 to a ten-year high of 84 in 2001.
Operators, fabricators, and laborers again recorded the largest number of fatal work injuries of any occupational group, accounting for more than one out of every three fatalities in 2001. However, the number of fatalities in this group dropped 4% for the second year in a row.
There also were fewer fatalities among material moving equipment operators, machine operators, and workers in railroad transportation and water transportation. Fatalities among handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers increased, mainly due to an increase in fatalities to construction laborers. Fatalities to non-construction laborers decreased.