Estimated risk of occupational fatalities associated with hazardous waste site remediation

A. F. Hoskin, J Paul Leigh, T. W. Planek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study presents a method to assess short term traumatic fatality risks for workers involved in hazardous waste site remediation to provide a quantitative, rather than qualitative, basis for evaluating occupational exposures in remediation feasibility studies. Occupational employment and fatality data for the years 1979-1981 and 1983 were compiled from Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 11 states. These data were analyzed for 17 occupations associated with three common remediation alternatives: excavation and landfill, capping, and capping plus slurry wall. The two occupations with the highest death rates, truck driver and laborer, contributed most to total exposure hours in each alternative. Weighted average death rates were produced for each alternative and multiplied by respective total person- years of exposure. The resultant expected number of fatalities was converted, using the Poisson distribution, to the risk of experiencing at least one fatality, as follows: 0.149 for excavation and landfill, 0.012 for capping, and 0.014 for capping plus slurry wall. These risks were discussed in light of the need to obtain more reliable and comprehensive data than are currently available on the occupational safety and health risks associated with hazardous waste site remediation and the need for a more scientific, quantitative approach to remediation decisions involving risks to workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1011-1018
Number of pages8
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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