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June 1996, Vol. 1, No. 1

BRIEF: Fewer women than men die of work-related injuries

Andrew Knestaut

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Of the Nation's employed workers, 46 percent are women, yet they account for just 8 percent of the Nation's job-related fatalities in 1992-1994. Women are less likely to be killed at work because they hold far fewer jobs in the most dangerous occupational groups. Nearly two-thirds of work-related fatalities occur in occupations broadly classified under the headings farm workers, production and craft workers, and machine operators and laborers, occupations in which only about a tenth of employed women hold jobs.1 

During 1992-94, more than 1,400 women lost their lives due to work-related injuries. The number of women fatally injured at work increased by 10 percent between 1992 and 1993, and by 7 percent between 1993 and 1994. Among men, the increase was markedly lower 1 and 4 percent, respectively, although total fatalities among men far out distanced those of women. (See table 1.)

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Occupations with the highest fatalities

Three occupations proved most dangerous for women—sales supervisors and proprietors, cashiers, and truckdrivers. In these occupations, the fatalities among women were most often homicides or highway traffic incidents. Table 2 shows the 10 most dangerous jobs for women.

Homicide was the leading fatal event for women at work, claiming the lives of 556 women workers, or 38 percent of those fatally injured on the job in 1992-94. In contrast, only 15 percent of men's fatal workplace injuries were the result of homicide.

Forty-seven percent of the murdered women held sales or food preparation and service jobs, such as cashiers and waitresses. Three-fourths of murdered women were shot. Seventeen percent of the women's alleged attackers were current of former husbands and boyfriends; for black women that figure was 28 percent.

Women of color were particularly affected by workplace violence. About two-thirds of the fatally injured Asian women workers and more than half of the Hispanic women workers were homicide victims. Homicide also accounted for just under half of the worker fatalities of women who were self-employed, under 25, or black. (See table 3. )

Highway traffic incidents claimed the lives of 371 women. Collisions were the primary fatal highway events, accounting for 229 of the deaths. And, more than a third of them occurred head-on or at intersections. Chart1 shows the leading fatal injury producing events for women.


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Fatality rates

In 1994, the fatality rate for women workers as a group was 1 fatality per 10,000 employed, while the rate for men workers was 9 fatalities per 10,000 employed. This means that men as a group has a fatal work injury rate nine times that of women in 1994. The difference was due largely to the relatively few women working in such hazardous occupations as fishing or timber cutters, which had rates if 131 and 130 fatalities per 10,000 employed, respectively, in 1994.

Not surprisingly, about half of women's workplace fatalities occurred during typical work day hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Less expected, however, was more women were murdered during the day than during either the evening or early morning hours. In contrast, male workers were more frequently murdered during evening hours. (See chart 2.)

The three jobs with the highest fatal work injury rates for women in 1994 were taxicab driver and chauffeurs, construction laborers, each with a fatality rate of 6 per100,000 employed, and truckdrivers with a rate of 20 per 100,000. (Fatality rates for men in these three occupations were 50, 34, and 28 fatalities per 100,000, respectively, in 1994). Table 4 shows the 10 jobs with the highest fatality rates for women workers.

For information on these data or the Census of fatal Occupational Injuries, contact Andrew Knestaut, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 3180, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DD 20212. Telephone: (202) 606-6175; Internet: [email protected]

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1 Data in this article are from the Bureau's Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 1992-94.

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ASSASSIN of JFK, Patton, many other Whites

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