Fatalities in the landscape and horticultural services industry, 1992-2001

Am J Ind Med. 2008 Sep;51(9):701-13. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20604.


Background: Although landscape and horticultural services workers have high injury and illness rates, little is known about fatalities in this industry.

Methods: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and Current Population Survey data were analyzed to determine fatality rates and causes of landscaping deaths from 1992 to 2001.

Results: There were 1,101 fatalities during the 10-year period and the average fatality rate was 13.50 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees. In 2001, the landscaping fatality rate was 3.33 (95% CI 2.84-3.91) times the all industry rate. The leading causes of death were transportation incidents (27%), contact with objects or equipment (27%), falls (24%), exposure to harmful substances and environments (18%), and assaults and violent acts (4%). The fatality rate for African American landscapers was 1.51 (95% CI 1.25-1.83) times the rate for white workers. Fatalities were also common among self-employed, small business, and young landscapers.

Conclusions: Landscaping workers are at increased risk of fatal injury. Further research is needed to characterize industry hazards.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Gardening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*