Safety and OSHA News

Falls requiring time off from work increase

A new report shows good news overall regarding occupational injuries that require time off from work. But some types of these injuries are up. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual report, Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, shows the case rate decreased in 2013. The rate was 109.4 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, down from 111.8 in 2012.

The median number of days away from work to recuperate decreased from 9 in 2012 to 8 in 2013.

The rate of falls on the same level increased to 15.4 in 2013 from 14.8 in 2012, with increases in construction, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing.

Some other findings from the BLS report:

  • In the healthcare and social assistance sector, 13% of the injuries and illnesses were the result of violence, which is an increase.
  • Incidence rates and counts for private sector heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and food preparation workers increased in 2013.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs, also known as ergonomic injuries) accounted for 33% of all injury and illness cases in 2013. Nursing assistants and laborers and freight, stock and material movers incurred the highest number of MSD cases in 2013. Ergonomic injuries accounted for 53% of total cases for nursing assistants in 2013.
  • The leading event or exposure that led to an injury that required days away from work in 2013 was overexertion (when the body is pushed beyond its healthy limits) and bodily reaction (from bodily motions including climbing, reaching, bending, tripping without falling, etc.). Overexertion and bodily reaction accounted for 35% of all cases. For laborers and nursing assistants, overexertion and bodily reaction was also the leading event or exposure, accounting for about 40% and 55% of cases respectively.
  • Workers 45 to 54 had the highest number of days-away-from-work cases in 2013, with a rate of 119.9. The incidence rate for workers 65 and over increased while the rates decreased for workers 20-24, 25-34 and 35-44.

This BLS report is the third in an annual series of three which includes a report on fatal injuries and a report on all injuries and illnesses.

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