Truckers Top List in Number of On-the-Job Deaths

Truckers had more fatalities than any other occupation in 2002, although total fatal work injuries for that year declined nearly 7 percent.

The number of trucker fatal work injuries increased slightly to 808, compared to 802 in fatalities in 2001, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released in August and September.

On a rate basis – deaths per 100,000 workers – truckers ranked 10th, with 25 fatalities. The highest rate of workplace fatalities was recorded for timber cutters, 118 per 100,000 workers. The other occupations among the top 10 job-related fatalities were fishers, pilots and navigators, structural metal workers, drivers-sales workers, roofers, electrical power installers, farm workers and construction laborers.

Deaths of trucking industry employees accounted for 12 percent of all worker deaths. Two-thirds of fatally injured truckers were involved in highway crashes.

Total work-related highway fatalities dropped 3 percent from 2001, but continued to be the most frequent type of fatal workplace event in 2002, accounting for about 25 percent of all fatal work injuries.

Other types of fatal transportation events declined. Aircraft incidents decreased 22 percent, and workers struck by vehicle or mobile equipment dropped 7 percent. Total fatal transportation work injuries have decreased the past four years, from 2,645 in 1998 to 2,381 in 2002.

A total of 5,524 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2002 – the lowest ever recorded by the department’s fatality census, which has been conducted yearly since 1992. The fatality rate also reached a new low of four fatal work injuries per 100,000 workers in 2002.

Truckers also had more nonfatal injuries than workers in any other occupation, according to department statistics released last spring. Half of these injuries were serious sprains and strains.

Of the 10 occupations that accounted for nearly 33 percent of the cases requiring time off from work, truckers have had the most injuries and illnesses with days away from work annually since 1993.