An interesting study crossed my (cluttered) desk recently. A broad ranging health study conducted in Canada found that 97% of workplace deaths there are suffered by males. While it is known that generally men are more likely to occupy high risk positions, that number still surprised me a great deal. In fact, the study sites workplace accidents as one of the four primary reasons Canadian men, on average, live 4 years less than females in that country. The other three, cardiovascular disease, suicide and auto accidents, were most likely not unusual in comparison to US statistics.

You might wonder how that statistic compares to workplace fatalities here in the US. Actually, they are not that far apart. In 2008, there were 5,214 workplace related deaths in the United States, 387 of them female. That means that the 4,827 male deaths account for 92.6% of US workplace fatalities this year, despite the fact that males made up just over 50% of the total hours worked. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics categorized these deaths into six areas:

  • Highway incidents
  • Homicides
  • Contact with objects and equipment
  • Falls
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments
  • Fires and explosions

Women had a higher percentage of fatal work injuries resulting from highway incidents and homicides. It should be noted that over one half (206) of the female fatalities occurred in those two categories. Men had a higher percentage of fatal work injuries resulting from contact with objects and equipment, falls, exposure to harmful substances or environments, and fires and explosions.

If there is good news to be found in all of this, it’s that the overall workplace death rate continues to decline in this country. 2008 numbers represent a drop of 443 from the year prior, which is a continuation of a downward trend from 1994, when 6,632 people died as a result of their job. As a working male, I certainly hope that trend continues!

You may read about the Canadian statistics here.

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