Thermal burn fatalities in the workplace, United States, 1992 to 1999

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to present the epidemiology of thermal burn fatalities in the workplace in the United States between 1992 and 1999. Data on fatal thermal burn injuries in the United States between 1992 through 1999 were obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Between 1992 and 1999, 1,189 fatal thermal burns occurred in the workplace (0.11 deaths/100,000 workers per year). Mortality increased with age, with those over 65 years of age having the greatest rate of death (0.20/100,000). Workers in the mining industry and transportation and public utilities had the highest rates of fatal thermal burns. Occupational categories with the highest rates included "extractive occupations" (eg, miners, explosives workers) and "transportation and material movers" (eg, truck drivers). The specific occupations with the highest rates were airplane pilots and navigators, furnace, kiln, and oven operators, and firefighters. Most decedents were operating vehicles or involved in "other transportation operations" at the time of the incident. The majority of injurious incidents occurred on "industrial premises" or the "street and highway." Efforts to prevent fatal occupational thermal burn injuries should focus on older workers and those in occupations with frequent exposure to potential sources of thermal injury. Further study of nonfatal thermal burns in the workplace is needed because patterns of fatal burn injury may not reflect patterns of occupational burn injury overall.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Quinney B; McGwin G; Cross JM; Valent F; Taylor AJ; Rue LW
  • Start Page

  • 305
  • End Page

  • 310
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 5