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Injury and Illness Rate Continues Decline

Private industry employers reported approximately 2.8 million workplace injuries and illnesses at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2017, according to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nearly one-third of occupational injuries and illnesses resulted in days away from work (DAFW).

The BLS reports:

·         There were nearly 45,800 fewer injuries and illnesses compared to 2016 based on estimates from the nation’s Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.

·         The 2017 rate of total recordable cases fell 0.1 cases per 100 FTE workers, continuing a pattern of decline that, apart from 2012, has occurred annually since 2004.

·         Rates for days away from work, days of job transfer or restriction only, and other recordable cases were unchanged from a year earlier.

·         There were 882,730 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2017 that resulted in DAFW. Job transfer or restriction case rates have remained at 0.7 cases per 100 FTE workers since 2011.

·         Among 19 private industry sectors, only manufacturing and finance and insurance experienced statistically significant changes in their overall rates of non-fatal injuries and illnesses – each

declined by 0.1 cases per 100 FTE workers compared to 2016.

Days Away from Work

The incidence rate for DAFW cases was 89.4 cases per 10,000 FTE workers in 2017, with a median of eight days off. The median is used as an indicator of case severity. The number of DAFW cases involving overexertion in lifting or lowering rose 3,250 cases to 97,990 in 2017, while the rate was unchanged at 9.9 cases per 10,000 FTE workers. The number of DAFW cases involving workers struck by objects or equipment fell 4,180 cases to 136,510 in 2017; the rate decreased to from 14.5 to 13.8 cases per 10,000 FTE workers.

In manufacturing, the incidence rate of total recordable cases decreased, but the DAFW rate was unchanged. Sprains, strains and tears (collectively) was the leading type of injury. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 34 percent of DAFW cases. In other industry sectors, the number of DAFW cases in warehousing and storage increased from 2016 while the incidence rate was essentially unchanged. Hospitals, administrative and support services, and social assistance experienced decreases in DAFW case counts and incidence rates. Transportation and material-moving workers incurred 12,750 DAFW cases in 2017, an increase of 3,120 cases from 2016.

Additional data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses are available on the BLS website.