OBJECTIVES: An updated version of a national surveillance system of traumatic occupational fatalities was used to explore adjusted and unadjusted trends in rates of fatal injury. METHODS: Data from the national traumatic occupational fatalities surveillance system were combined with data on employment from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Poisson regression was then used to examine trends in rates of occupational fatality injuries while controlling for demographic and workplace characteristics. RESULTS: Adjusted annual changes in rates of fatal injuries ranged from a decline of 6.2% for workers in technical and administrative support occupations--for example, health, science, and engineering technicians, pilots, computer programmers--to an increase of 1.6% in machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors. For industries, annual changes ranged from a decline of 5.3% for workers in public administration--for example, justice, public order, and safety workers--to an increase of 2.6% for workers in the wholesale trade. By comparison, the annual decline over all industries and occupations was 3.1%. In many industries and occupations, an effect modification of annual trends by the age of the worker was also found with the oldest workers experiencing either no decline or a significant increase in rates of fatal injuries. CONCLUSIONS: This general pattern of decline, adjusted for the effects of demographic characteristics of the worker population, is encouraging; however, increases in rates of fatal injuries found in particular industries and occupations, suggest appropriate targets for increased injury prevention efforts.
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