There were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2022, up 7.5% from 2021, according to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
That increase is driven by a rise in both injuries, with a 4.5% increase to 2.3 million cases, and illnesses which rose 26.1% to 460,700 cases.
The BLS report, which was released Nov. 8, 2023, states that the increase in illnesses is driven by the rise in respiratory illness cases, which rose 35.4% to 365,000 cases in 2022. That follows a decrease in respiratory illnesses in 2021 when compared to 2020.
Respiratory illnesses cause spike in illness rates
The 2022 total recordable cases incidence rate was 2.7 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, and the rate of injury cases was 2.3 cases per 100 FTE, which was unchanged from 2021.
In 2022, the illness rate increased to 45.2 cases per 10,000 FTE workers compared to 37.7 cases in 2021. Again, the increase was driven by a rise in respiratory illness rates, which rose to 35.8 cases per 10,000 FTE workers from 27.8 cases in 2021.
Transportation had highest number of injury-related transfers
Note: Beginning in 2023, all-industry case characteristics and worker demographics information will be published by the BLS every two years.
For the 2021-2022 two-year period, there were 2.2 million days away from work (DAFW) cases, representing 66.5% of the total cases involving DAFW, job restriction or transfer (DART). The incident rate was 112.9 cases per 10,000 FTE workers. The median number of days from work missed was 10.
Over the same period, there were 1.1 million DART cases, which accounted for 33.5% of the total. That resulted in a rate of 56.9 cases per 10,000 FTE workers with a 15-day median of transfer or restriction.
Transportation and material moving jobs had the highest number of DART cases among the major occupation groups with 835,040 total injuries and illnesses over the 2021-2022 period. These occurred at a rate of 410 cases per 10,000 FTE workers, with 503,610 (60.3%) DART cases requiring at least one day away from work. There were 331,430 cases, or 39.7%, resulting in one or more days of job transfer or restriction.
Among production jobs, 53.8% (223,840) of all DART cases resulted in one or more days away from work with the remaining 46.2% requiring one or more days of job transfer or restriction.
Overexertion, bodily reactions most prevalent incident types
During the 2021-2022 period, overexertion and bodily reactions saw the most DART cases with 1,001,440. Contact with objects and equipment was a distant second with 780,690 cases. Of these, 52.1% resulted in days away from work, which occurred at an incidence rate of 26.2 cases per 10,000 FTE workers requiring a median of 14 days away from work.
Most of the DART cases in transportation and material moving jobs were due to overexertion and bodily reactions, with half of these cases (165,690) resulting in one or more days away from work.
Out of 658,240 total exposure to harmful substances or environments cases, 634,080 (96.3%) involved at least one day away from work.
Other highlights from the report include:
- the number of respirator illnesses in private health care and social assistance increased 37.5% from 145,300 cases in 2021 to 199,700 in 2022
- the rate of respiratory illnesses in grocery stores in 2022 was 190.4 cases per 10,000 FTE workers, an increase from 66.8 in 2021
- there were 560,750 total DAFW cases in private industry over the 2021-2022 period due to the same code used to classify cases of COVID-19, and
- over the 2021-2022 period, there was 502,380 workplace musculoskeletal disorders resulting in at least one day away from work and occurring at an incidence rate of 25.3 per 10,000 FTE workers.