Thirty-six work-related deaths were recorded in Idaho in 2015, up slightly from 34 fatalities in 2014. Twenty-two of the 2015 workplace deaths in Idaho occurred during transportation incidents.
Nationally, fatalities increased by 0.3 percent from 4,821 to 4,836.
Twenty-two of the 2015 workplace deaths in Idaho occurred during transportation incidents, which were the leading cause of workplace deaths over the past 10 years in Idaho – ranging from 42 percent in 2005 to 70 percent in 2011. Nearly one-third of the transportation incidents occurred in the agriculture sector.
Contact with objects and equipment was responsible for six Idaho deaths in 2015. Four fatalities were due to exposure to harmful substances. The cause of four deaths could not be disclosed due to confidentiality restrictions.
Idaho followed the national trend with the most transportation-related deaths on highways. Nationally, roadway incidents accounted for 42 percent of the fatal transportation work injuries. In Idaho the rate was higher at 61 percent.
Idaho was one of 21 states where workplace deaths rose in 2015 from 2014. Idaho ranked 10th in fatality increases at two. The largest increase was 53 in South Carolina, and the largest decrease was 31 in Iowa. Fatalities decreased in 30 states, including the District of Columbia.
The percentage change among the states can be distorted because the actual totals are so small. Workplace fatalities are typically measured in deaths per every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers to adjust for varying populations. Fatal injury rates, based on Current Population Survey data, show the risk of a fatal occupational injury. In 2015, Idaho had a rate of 4.8 deaths per 100,000 workers compared to a national rate of 3.4. Idaho’s increase from 2.7 deaths in 2012 was the fourth largest among the states. North Dakota had the highest rate in the nation at 12.5 per 100,000 workers.
Thirty-four of the fatalities were in private industry and the remaining two could not be published due to confidentiality laws. Twenty seven of the fatalities were wage and salary workers and nine were self-employed.
By industry, 41 percent of Idaho’s workplace deaths in 2015 were in transportation and agriculture.
By occupation, workplace deaths occurred primarily in two areas – 11 in farming, fishing and forestry and six each in transportation and material moving. Four of the fatalities in transportation were heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. The majority of the farming fatalities were agriculture workers.
All those killed were men compared to 93 percent nationwide. Men are more likely to work in the agriculture and transportation industries.
More than 80 percent of Idaho’s workers killed were white – reflecting the state’s high white population. Nationally, 67 percent of workplace fatalities were white. The percent of Hispanic fatalities in Idaho was about the same as the nation – 14 percent in Idaho and 19 percent in the United States.
Idaho workers between 25 and 54 years old — the prime working years — accounted for 56 percent of the work-related deaths in 2015 and 27 percent occurred among older workers – 55 and older. There were no workers below the age of 25 in Idaho’s job-related deaths in 2015. Nationally, workers age 24 to 54 accounted for 57 percent of workplace deaths. However, 35 percent of workplace deaths involved older workers. The deaths in Idaho were evenly distributed between four age groups (25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64) whereas 23 percent of the nation’s fatalities were in the 45- to 54-year-old group.
–Janell Hyer, research analyst supervisor
About the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began conducting annual surveys in 1972 to estimate the number of workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry and the frequency of those incidents. Subsequently analysis showed traumatic occupational fatalities were underreported, and widely varying estimates raised concern about using a sampled survey to estimate deaths. In response to these concerns, the bureau began annually collecting additional data through the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries program on the more seriously injured or ill workers. In 1992, the agency began reporting the number of workplace fatal injuries from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
To compile counts that are as complete as possible, the census uses multiple sources to identify, verify and profile fatal worker injuries. Information about each workplace fatal injury — occupation and other worker characteristics, equipment involved and circumstances of the event — is obtained by cross-referencing the source records such as death certificates, workers’ compensation reports and federal and state agency administrative reports. To ensure that fatal injuries are work related, cases are substantiated with two or more independent source documents or a source document and a follow-up questionnaire.
Data compiled by the program are issued annually for the preceding calendar year. These data are used by safety and health policy analysts and researchers to help prevent fatal work injuries by:
- Informing workers of life-threatening hazards associated with various jobs;
- Promoting safer work practices through enhanced job safety training;
- Assessing and improving workplace safety standards; and
- Identifying new areas of safety research.
The National Safety Council adopted the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries figure beginning with the 1992 data year as the authoritative count for work-related deaths in the United States.