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October 19, 2012

Work-Related Fatalities Decreased in Texas in 2011 for the Second Year in a Row

AUSTIN, TX - Texas recorded a six percent decrease in work-related fatalities in 2011, the second consecutive year of decrease and the lowest level in a decade. There were 433 fatalities in 2011 compared to the 2010 total of 461 fatalities. Nationally, there were a preliminary total of 4,609 fatal work injuries in 2011, according to the most recently available data released on September 20, 2012, by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).

From 2003 to 2011, Texas recorded the lowest work-related fatalities in 2011 (Table 1).

Table 1. Annual Number of Fatal Occupational Injuries in Texas, 2003-2011
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
491 440 495 489 528 463 482 461 433

The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) compiles detailed information on all work-related fatalities occurring in Texas for the CFOI, a program jointly administered with the BLS. The TDI-DWC annually releases total fatality counts and descriptive data in an effort to provide information to assist employers, safety professionals, and policymakers in identifying occupational safety and health issues in the state.

Causes of Fatalities

Transportation incidents were the leading cause of workplace fatalities in Texas in 2011, with 168 incidents (39 percent of the total fatalities). Of those, 106 were roadway transportation incidents, 32 were pedestrian vehicular accidents, and 14 were nonroadway incidents involving a motorized land vehicle occurring entirely off of a public roadway.

Of the roadway incidents, 70 occurred on a state or U.S. highway. A freight hauling and utility truck such as a tractor trailer truck or dump truck was involved in 51 percent of the roadway incidents (54 incidents) and 42 percent of the incidents involved collisions with another highway vehicle (45 incidents). Sixty percent of the employees involved were in the transportation and material moving occupations (64 incidents), followed by 17 percent in construction and extraction occupations (18 incidents). Employees between the ages of 35 to 54 years were involved in 50 percent of the roadway incidents (53 incidents). Over one-third of the roadway incidents (36 incidents) occurred during the morning and afternoon rush hours, with 19 percent between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. (20 incidents) and 15 percent between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (16 incidents).

Over half of the pedestrian vehicular accidents occurred on a street or highway (18 incidents) followed by 28 percent at an industrial place or premise (9 incidents).  Pedestrians were struck by a freight hauling and utility truck such as a tractor trailer truck or dump truck in 31 percent of the accidents (10 incidents), followed by a passenger vehicle in 25 percent (8 incidents).  Forty-seven percent of the employees involved were in the transportation and material moving occupations (15 incidents). Pedestrians between the ages of 45 to 54 years were involved in 41 percent of the vehicular accidents (13 incidents). The highest number of pedestrian vehicular accidents occurred May through August and in November, with 4 incidents each month; the deadliest hours were 11 a.m. to 11:59 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 8:59 p.m.

The second leading cause of workplace fatalities was violence and other injuries by persons or animals, with 70 incidents. Workplace homicides accounted for 60 percent of the fatalities (42 incidents), workplace suicides accounted for 30 percent (21 incidents), and struck by an animal 4 percent (3 incidents). The motive for 48 percent of the workplace homicides was robbery (20 incidents). One-third of the employees involved were security guards and retail sales occupations (14 incidents). Almost half of the workplace homicides occurred at a public building such as a convenience store, restaurant, or pawn shop (20 incidents) followed by 17 percent at an employer’s parking lot or garage (7 incidents).

Fatalities resulting from falls accounted for 15 percent of the total fatalities, with 67 incidents. Of these, 84 percent (56 incidents) were falls to a lower level and 15 percent (10 incidents) were falls on the same level. Falls to a lower level from a roof accounted for 21 percent (12 incidents), followed by falls from ladders 16 percent (9 incidents). Thirty-two percent of falls to a lower level occurred at residential and commercial construction sites (18 incidents), and 52 percent of the employees were in construction and extraction occupations (29 incidents). Forty-three percent of the falls to a lower level involved employees between the ages of 45 to 64 years (24 incidents), and 55 percent of the employees were Hispanic or Latino (31 incidents).

Table 2. Annual Number of Fatal Occupational Injuries in Texas by Event or Exposure, 2011
Event or Exposure 2011
Total 433
Violence and other injuries by persons or animals 70
Intentional injury by person 63
Homicides 42
Suicides 21
Injury by person—unintentional or intent unknown 4
Animal and insect related incidents 3
Transportation incidents 168
Aircraft incidents 4
Rail vehicle incidents 3
Pedestrian vehicular incident 32
Pedestrian struck by vehicle in work zone 7
Pedestrian struck by vehicle in roadway 7
Pedestrian struck by vehicle on side of road 3
Pedestrian struck by vehicle in nonroadway area 14
Water vehicle incident 7
Roadway incident involving motorized land vehicle 106
Roadway collision with other vehicle 46
Roadway collision with object other than vehicle 23
Roadway noncollision incident 32
Nonroadway incident involving motorized land vehicle 14
Nonroadway noncollision incident 12
Fire or explosion 18
Fire 7
Forest or brush fire 3
Explosion 11
Explosion of pressure vessel, piping, or tire 6
Fall, slip, trip 67
Fall on same level 10
Fall to lower level 56
Other fall to lower level (from ladders, roofs, scaffolds, structural steel, trees, nonmoving vehicles, stairs) 47
Other fall to lower level 6 to 10 feet 7
Other fall to lower level 11 to 15 feet 7
Other fall to lower level 16 to 20 feet 7
Other fall to lower level 21 to 25 feet 4
Other fall to lower level 26 to 30 feet 5
Other fall to lower level more than 30 feet 6
Exposure to harmful substances or environments 43
Exposure to electricity 16
Exposure to temperature extremes 9
Exposure to other harmful substances 16
Nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol unintentional overdose 10
Contact with objects and equipment 66
Struck by object or equipment 52
Struck by powered vehicle nontransport 19
Struck by falling object or equipment 25
Struck by discharged or flying object 4
Struck by swinging or slipping object, other than handheld 3
Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects 8
Caught in running equipment or machinery 7
Struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material 6

Notes for Table 2

  • The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) has published data on fatal occupational injuries for the United States since 1992. During this time, the classification systems and definitions of many data elements have changed. Please see the CFOI Definitions page on the BLS website at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfdef.htm for a more detailed description of each data element and their definitions.
  • Based on the BLS Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS) 2.01 implemented for 2011 data forward. The violence and other injuries by persons or animals category include violence by persons, self-inflicted injury, and attacks by animals.
  • Total includes data for fatalities that do not meet publication criteria.

Fatalities by Industry

Overall, 93 percent of fatal work injuries (401 incidents) in Texas involved employees in the private sector in 2011 (Table 3). Service providing industries in the private sector recorded 52 percent of all fatal work injuries (227 incidents), while 40 percent (174 incidents) occurred in the goods producing industries. The other 7 percent (32 incidents) were spread among governmental industries (Table 4).

Among the goods producing industries in the private sector, construction had the highest number of fatal work injuries, with 83 incidents.  This was the lowest number in this industry since 2003 (106 incidents) and represented a decrease of 7 percent from 2010. Fifty-three percent of the construction industry fatalities were evenly distributed between transportation incidents (22 incidents) and falls (22 incidents). Construction trade contractors had the highest number of fatalities (58 incidents), a decrease of 3 percent from 2010.

Private sector manufacturing experienced a total of 28 fatal work injuries in 2011, but unlike construction, experienced a 6 percent increase from 2010. Thirty-six percent of the manufacturing industry fatalities were due to transportation incidents (10 incidents). First-line supervisors of production and operating workers had the highest number of fatalities (5 incidents).

Among the service providing industries in the private sector, transportation and warehousing had the highest number of fatal work injuries in 2011; the total (76 incidents) represented a decrease of 18 percent from 2010. There were a total of 58 fatal transportation incidents in the transportation and warehousing sector; of those, 59 percent were roadway incidents involving a motorized land vehicle (45 incidents) and 11 percent involved pedestrians being struck by a vehicle (8 incidents). The truck transportation subsector had the highest number of fatalities (54 incidents), an increase of 2 percent from 2010.

Table 3. Annual Number of Fatal Occupational Injuries in Texas by Industry, Private Sector, 2010-2011
Industry 2010 2011
Total 461 433
Private Industry 419 401
Goods Producing 189 174
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting 28 22
Mining 45 41
Oil and Gas Extraction 3 5
Support Activities for Mining 40 36
Construction 89 83
Construction of buildings 9 12
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction 20 24
Specialty Trade Contractors 60 46
Manufacturing 27 28
Service Providing 230 227
Wholesale Trade 13 17
Retail Trade 25 25
Transportation and Warehousing 93 76
Truck Transportation 53 54
Utilities 4 --
Information 3 --
Finance and Insurance 7 --
Real Estate and Rental Leasing 8 6
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 12 6
Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services 17 38
Education and Health Services 13 14
Health Care and Social Assistance 11 12
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 5 8
Accommodation and Food Services 14 15
Other Services, except Public Administration 16 16

Notes for Table 3

  • Industry data from 2003 to 2008 are based on the North American Industry Classification System, 2002. Industry data from 2009 to the present are based on the North American Industry Classification System, 2007.
  • Includes all fatal occupational injuries meeting this ownership criterion across all specified years, regardless of industry classification system.
  • Includes fatal injuries to workers employed by governmental organizations regardless of industry.
  • Includes all fatal occupational injuries meeting this ownership criterion across all specified years, regardless of industry classification system.
Table 4. Annual Number of Fatal Occupational Injuries in Texas by Industry, Public Sector, 2010-2011
Industry 2010 2011
Government 42 32
Federal Government 7 7
State Government 6 3
Local Government 29 22
Police Protection 15 12
Fire Protection -- 6

Employee Demographics

Fatal work injuries to wage and salary employees decreased by 10 percent from 398 in 2010 to 357 in 2011, while fatalities among the self-employed increased by 21 percent from 63 in 2010 to 76.

Women accounted for 7 percent of the total fatalities (32 incidents). They were involved in fatal transportation incidents in 31 percent of the cases (10 incidents) and were victims of an assault or a violent act in 25 percent of the cases (8 incidents). The leading cause of fatalities among men was transportation incidents with 158 incidents (39 percent), followed by contact with objects and equipment with 64 incidents (16 percent).

The number of fatal work injuries decreased among White, non-Hispanic employees from 257 incidents in 2010 to 217 incidents in 2011, but increased from 26 to 34 incidents for Black, non-Hispanic (31 percent) and from 165 to 171 incidents in 2011 for Hispanic or Latino employees (4 percent).

This release is the first in a series of three releases of data collected by the TDI-DWC in cooperation with the BLS.  Incidence rates for nonfatal injuries and illnesses by industry for 2011 will be published in October 2012, and detailed case circumstances and worker characteristics for nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses for cases that result in days away from work will follow in November 2012.  In 2010, the Texas incidence rate for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses was 2.7 per 100 full-time workers.  The Texas rate has been below the national average since data collection began in 1990.

The TDI-DWC provides various safety and health services to assist employers in providing safe and healthy workplaces, including free safety and health consultations on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; regional and onsite safety training; free safety training DVD/video loans; the Safety Violations Hotline; and free safety and health publications. For more information on these services, visit the TDI website at http://www.tdi.texas.gov/wc/safety/index.html or call 800-687-7080. For more information about fatal work-related incidents, contact the TDI-DWC by telephone at 512-804-4658 or send an e-mail to cfoi@tdi.texas.gov.

Regarding the data reported in this news release:

  • Sources include the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC), Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Data for 2011 are preliminary. Data for prior years are revised and final.
  • Totals for major categories may include subcategories not shown separately.
  • Dashes indicate no data or data that do not meet publication criteria.
  • CFOI fatal injury counts exclude occupational illness-related deaths unless precipitated by an injury event.
  • Changes to the OIICS Structure: Information in this release incorporates a major revision in the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS), which is used to describe the characteristics of fatal work injuries. Because of the extensive revisions, data for the OIICS case characteristics for reference year 2011 represent a break in series with data for prior years. More information on OIICS can be found at www.bls.gov/iif/oshoiics.htm.


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Last updated: 01/02/2013

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