Overdose deaths hit Massachusetts workplaces hard: report
Overdose deaths hit Massachusetts workplaces hard: report

Boston – Unintentional overdoses accounted for more than one in four workplace deaths in Massachusetts between 2021 and 2022, the state Department of Health reports.

For its report on fatal workplace injuries in Massachusetts, the DPH used data from its Occupational Health Surveillance Program.

As of 2016, overdoses have been the leading cause of workplace deaths in Massachusetts, with the average age of victims being 44.

During the two years studied for the report, 47 people died from an unintentional overdose in the workplace, representing 26.4% of the 178 workplace deaths during that period. This compares to 9.3% nationally.

The second leading cause of workplace death in the state was suicide (25), followed by traffic accidents (21), falls from a lower level (19), pedestrian accidents (14), and collisions with falling objects or equipment (12).

Further findings:

  • The highest rate of fatal accidents at work was recorded in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, with 36.8 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees, followed by landscaping (14.9), transportation (10.9) and utilities (10.9).
  • The workers were predominantly male (89.9%) and between 16 and 86 years old.
  • 68% of the workers were white non-Hispanic.

DPH encourages employers to participate in state fatal injury prevention programs and activities, such as the BeHERE initiative, which provides educational materials on opioids, pain prevention, and recovery-promoting workplaces.

The department’s other offerings include online resources such as the Suicide Prevention Program, the MassMen initiative to provide life support for men, and a suicide prevention guide for construction workers.

By Aurora