Background: Research suggests that rates of occupational injury and death may be higher among self-employed workers than in the wage and salaried population. This analysis was conducted to describe the demographic and occupational characteristics, as well as injuries, activities, and occupations of self-employed workers who are fatally injured on the job.
Methods: Characteristics of workers by type of employment were compared using data from the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, 1978-1994. Age-, activity-, and industry-specific fatality rates in self-employed workers (N=395) were contrasted to those privately employed (N=1,654).
Results: Highest fatal injury rates among the self-employed occurred in agriculture, retail, and transportation industries. Homicide deaths occurred more frequently among self-employed workers; deaths resulting from unintentional injuries occurred more frequently among non-self-employed workers.
Conclusions: Elevated occupational fatality death rates among self-employed workers, especially in retail and transportation industries, provide justification for addressing work-related conditions of self-employed workers in North Carolina.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.