[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare the profile of unintentional fatal occupational injuries in the Republic of Korea and the United States to help establish prevention strategies for Korea and to understand country specific differences in fatality risks in different industries.
Occupational fatal injury data from 1998-2001 were collected from Korea's Occupational Safety and Health Agency's Survey of Causes of Occupational Injuries (identified by the Korea Labor Welfare Corporation) and from the United States Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Employment estimates were obtained in both countries. Industry coding and external cause of death coding were standardized. Descriptive analyses of injury rates and Poisson regression models to examine time trends were conducted.
Korea exhibited a significantly higher fatal injury rate, at least two times higher than the United States, after accounting for different employment patterns. The ordering of industries with respect to risk is the same in the two countries, with mining, agriculture/forestry/fishing, and construction being the most dangerous. Fatal injury rates are decreasing in these two countries, although at a faster rate in Korea.
Understanding industrial practices within different countries is critical for fully understanding country specific occupational injury statistics. However, differences in surveillance systems and employment estimation methods serve as caveats to any transnational comparison, and need to be harmonized to the fullest extent possible.