Trends and Disparities in Fatal Occupational Injuries in North Carolina

Understanding the frequency and distribution of occupational injuries is crucial for injury prevention and evaluation of injury prevention strategies. Like the United States as a whole, North Carolina’s workforce has changed substantially over the past 25 years. The state has grown from 6.6 million to 9.9 million residents, employment has shifted dramatically from agriculture, textile, and furniture production to a more diversified economy, and the population of Latino workers has increased nearly four hundred percent.

Trends and Disparities in Fatal Occupational Injuries in North Carolina is an occupational cohort study of fatal occupational injuries among workers in North Carolina. The primary goal of this NIOSH funded study is to strengthen our understanding of fatal occupational injuries in North Carolina, with a particular interest in:

  • Injury trends and their economic determinants
  • Disparities in injury rates by race and ethnicity
  • Deaths among older workers

This study is a continuation of the highly successful parent study, Occupational Injury Fatalities in North Carolina [Loomis PI] which provided a detailed description of the epidemiology of fatal occupational injuries in North Carolina over the period 1977-1991, utilizing the state’s medical examiner system as a tool for identification of fatal occupational injuries. The findings of that project, which continue to be used by injury epidemiologists, described trends in fatal injuries, disparities by race and ethnicity, and informed injury research and prevention strategies for a number of industries.

Trends and Disparities in Fatal Occupational Injuries in North Carolina is a major 25-year update of data [1992-2017] on fatal occupational injuries among Southern workers, implementing state-of-the-art methods for analyses and quantitative inference. As in the parent study, this study will utilize data from the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to identify fatal occupational injuries. This study will substantially improve our understanding of injury rates, disparities, and special populations of interest relevant to future prevention efforts.

Partnerships

This study builds upon longstanding collaborations between the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, the UNC Department of Epidemiology, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services,  The North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (NC OCME), and the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office (MCMEO).

The North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

  • Chief Medical Examiner: Dr. Michelle Aurelius
  • NC OCME Epidemiologist/Grant Program Manager: Alison Miller
  • NC OCME Operations Manager: Nikki Marshall

Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office (MCMEO)

  • Medical Examiner: Thomas Owens
  • Business Manager: Jeff Coefield

Selected Publications

Fatal Agricultural Injuries in North Carolina by Race and Occupation. Am J Ind Med, 31(4), 1997. doi.org/10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199704)31:4<452::aid-ajim12>3.0.co;2-z.

Fatal Occupational Injuries in the Forestry and Logging Industry in North Carolina, 1977-1991. Int J Occup Environ Health, 3, 1997. Doi.org/10.1179/oeh.1997.3.4.259.

Loomis, DP, Richardson, DB, Wolf, SH, Runyan, CW and Butts, JD. Fatal Occupational Injuries in a Southern State.  Am J of Epidemiol, 145(12), 1997. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009071.

Richardson, DB and Loomis, D. Trends in Fatal Occupational Injuries and Industrial Restructuring in North Carolina in the 1980s. Am J Public Health, 87(6), 1997.

Richardson, D, Loomis, D, Wolf, S and Gregory, E. Fatal Agricultural Injuries in North Carolina by Race and Occupation. Am J Ind Med, 31(4), 1997.

Richardson, DB and Loomis, D. Race and the Risk of Fatal Injury at Work. Am J Public Health, 88(1), 1998. doi.org/10.2105/ajph.88.1.40.

Rodriguez-Acosta, R and Loomis, DP. Fatal Occupational Injuries in the Forestry and Logging Industry in North Carolina, 1977-1991. Int J Occup Environ Health, 3, 1997.

Trends in Fatal Occupational Injuries and Industrial Restructuring in North Carolina in the 1980s. Am J Public Health, 87(6), 1997.   doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.87.6.1041.

This research is supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [1 R01OH011256-01-00].