Safety and OSHA News

Feds report decrease in serious workplace injuries

The rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work decreased from 2014 to 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The rate per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015 was 104.0, down from 107.1 in 2014.

In the private sector, the rate was 93.9 in 2015, down from 97.8 in 2014.

Workers needed a median of eight days to recuperate in 2015, down from nine days in 2014.

Occupations with the highest number of cases in 2015 included heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; laborers and freight, stock and material movers; and nursing assistants. Other occupations with high injury rates include correctional officers and jailers; police and sheriff’s patrol officers; firefighters; and janitors and cleaners.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as sprains or strains from overexertion in lifting, accounted for 31% of cases. The incident rate for MSDs was 29.8 cases per 10,000 workers in 2015, down from 31.9 in 2014. Workers who suffered an MSD required a median of 12 days to recuperate, down from 13 in 2014.

The leading event of exposure was overexertion and bodily reaction, which accounted for 33% of cases. Falls, slips and trips accounted for 27%.

The leading type of injury was sprains, strains and tears, accounting for 37% of cases. The rates for other types of injuries:

  • soreness, pain: 16%
  • fractures: 9%
  • bruise, contusions: 9%
  • cuts, lacerations, punctures (these increased from 2014 to 2015): 9%
  • all other types of injuries or illness: 21%.

The types of injuries that required the most days to recuperate were fractures (31 days), carpal tunnel syndrome (28 days) and amputations (22 days). Less than 1% of cases resulted in carpal tunnel syndrome or amputation.

Three private industry sectors had more than 100,000 days-away-from-work incidents in 2015:

  • health care and social assistance: the incident rate was 113.6 cases per 10,000 workers, down from 2014
  • retail trade: incident rate 105.3, not statistically different from 2014, and
  • manufacturing: incident rate 99.0, down from 2014.

Workers in the 45-54 age group had the highest number of days-away-from-work cases in 2015, but the group’s rate decreased from 2014.

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