July 18, 2013

Workplace deaths rise in Maine

The state's job-related fatality rate exceeds the national rate, the latest figures show.

By J. Craig Anderson canderson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Job-related injuries killed 26 Mainers in 2011, the highest number for a single year in nearly a decade, according to a state Department of Labor report.

The 2011 Annual Census of Maine's Fatal Occupational Injuries says the rate in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, was 4.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.

The national rate for that year was 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers.

The rate in Maine increased by nearly 1 percentage point, from 3.3 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2010, the report said.

Before 2011, the most recent year in which work-related deaths exceeded 26 was 2002, when there were 30 such deaths in Maine, the report says.

The Department of Labor has been tracking occupational deaths since 1991.

Transportation incidents accounted for 16 of the fatal work-related injuries in Maine in 2011.

They were described in the report as car and airplane crashes, along with "collisions involving other people, animals or objects."

The second-leading cause was "violence and other injuries by persons and animals," which resulted in four deaths, followed by "exposure to harmful substances or environments" (three deaths) and "other fatal event category or not reportable" (three deaths).

Gov. Paul LePage said in a news release that the report helps decision makers and businesses improve safety conditions on the job.

"We are committed to reducing the number of injuries and deaths in our workplaces," LePage said. "We want to do everything we can to keep Mainers safe while they are on the job."

Environmental conditions such as ice, sleet and snow or high winds were secondary factors in five of the 26 occupational deaths, the report said.

The occupational category in which the greatest number of deaths occurred was "transportation and material-moving occupations," with seven deaths, followed by "farming, fishing and forestry occupations" and "construction and extraction occupations," with four work-related deaths each.

Twenty-three of the 26 Mainers who died on the job in 2011 were male, the report said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

canderson@pressherald.com

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

 

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