Age and fatal work-related falls

J. Agnew, A. J. Suruda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


In the work environment, an increased risk of fatal injury from falls is seen at ages not normally considered to be old. This study examined fatality data from a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health death certificate database and from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigations to analyze the relationship of age to fatal work- related falls. For 1980 to 1986, death certificates reported 43 505 fatal work injuries in men, 4179 of which were from falls. Fatality rates from falls showed an increase for older workers beginning with the age group of 45-54, whereas fatal injury rates for other work-related causes did not increase until the age group of 55-64. OSHA investigations of 996 fatal work- related falls in 1984-1986 reported that falls from ladders accounted for 20% of fatal falls in workers aged 55 and over, significantly more than the average of 9% of all falls for workers of all ages. OSHA data also showed that fatal falls among older workers were associated with lower energy of impact, which means that the height of fatal falls tends to decrease with increasing age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-736
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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