Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, 2015


For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Thursday, November 10, 2016                                          USDL-16-2130

Technical information:	(202) 691-6170  •  iifstaff@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/iif/oshcdnew.htm
Media contact:	(202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov

       NONFATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES AND ILLNESSES REQUIRING DAYS AWAY FROM WORK, 2015

The overall incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from 
work to recuperate was 104.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015, down from 107.1 cases in 2014, 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In 2015, there were 1,153,490 days-away-from-work 
cases in private industry, state government, and local government—essentially unchanged from the 
number of cases reported in 2014. The median days away from work to recuperate—a key measure of 
severity of injuries and illnesses—was 8 days in 2015, 1 day fewer than reported in 2014. (See table 1.)

Private sector occupations

In the private sector, the incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers was 93.9 cases in 2015, down from 
97.8 cases in 2014. (See table 1.)

* Occupations that had among the highest number of cases in 2015 resulting in days away from work 
  included heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; laborers and freight, stock, and material movers; and 
  nursing assistants.  (See table 3.) 

* The incidence rates decreased for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (298.7 cases per 10,000 full-
  time workers in 2015, down from 355.4) and nursing assistants (327.8 in 2015, down from 353.6). 

* Private sector laborers and freight, stock, and material movers had 56,550 days-away-from-work cases 
  in 2015, an increase from 2014 levels. However, the incidence rate of 289.4 cases was not 
  significantly different from the rate reported in 2014 (284.5 cases).  (See table 3 and chart A).

(Chart A. appears here in the printed news release.)
Chart A. Incidence rates for occupational injuries and illnesses with days away from work by selected occupations, 2011-15 


State and local government occupations

The incidence rates for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses with days away from work for state 
(149.2 cases per 10,000 full-time workers) and local government (177.5) were essentially unchanged in 
2015.  (See table 1.)

* In state or local government, there were five occupations with at least 10,000 cases: police and 
  sheriff’s patrol officers; firefighters; janitors and cleaners; and teacher assistants in local government 
  and correctional officers and jailers in state government. (See table 3.) 

* The incidence rate of injuries and illnesses to janitors and cleaners in local government increased to 
  657.4 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015 from 434.0 cases in 2014. (See chart A.)

* The incidence rate of injuries and illnesses to firefighters in local government decreased to 422.2 cases 
  per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015 from a rate of 495.2 in 2014. (See chart A.)


Musculoskeletal disorders

In 2015, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as sprains or strains resulting from overexertion in 
lifting, accounted for 31 percent (356,910 cases) of the total cases for all workers. Of the total MSD cases, 
80 percent occurred to private industry workers. This resulted in an incidence rate of 29.8 cases per 
10,000 full-time workers in 2015, down from 31.9 cases in 2014. Private industry workers who sustained 
an MSD required a median of 12 days (down from 13 days in 2014) to recuperate before returning to 
work in 2015, compared to 8 days for all days-away-from-work cases. (See chart B and table 9.)

* Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (20,990), nursing assistants (16,860), and heavy and 
  tractor-trailer truck drivers (14,900) each incurred at least 5 percent of the total private sector MSD 
  cases in 2015.  

* The MSD incidence rate for nursing assistants was 171.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015, 
  down from 191.1 in 2014.

* For heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, both the MSD rate (94.0) and number (14,900) of MSD 
  cases in 2015 decreased from 2014 figures. However, the median days away from work increased to 
  30 days, up from 20 days in 2014. (See table 9 and chart B.)

(Chart B. appears here in the printed news release.)
Chart B. Incidence rates and median days away from work for musculoskeletal disorders, private industry, 2013-15


Event or exposure leading to injury or illness

The leading major event or exposure resulting in occupational injuries or illnesses for all ownerships in 
2015 was overexertion and bodily reaction with 376,190 cases accounting for 33 percent of total cases. 
The 2015 incidence rate for overexertion or bodily reaction was 33.9 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, 
down from 35.6 in 2014. (See table 4.) 

Falls, slips, and trips accounted for 27 percent (309,060 cases) of the total occupational injuries and 
illnesses in 2015 and decreased from 2014 levels. The incidence rate for falls, slips, and trips was 27.9 
cases per 10,000 full-time workers and was a decrease from the rate reported in 2014 (29.3).

(Chart C. appears here in the printed news release.)
Chart C. Incidence rates for occupational injuries and illnesses with days away from work by selected detailed events or 
exposures, all ownerships, 2011-15
 
* The leading detailed types of event or exposure in 2015 included falls on the same level (197,260 
  cases), struck by object or equipment (157,490 cases), and overexertion in lifting or lowering 
  (113,260 cases). (See table 4.)

* The incidence rate of workers being struck by an object or equipment increased to 14.2 cases per 
  10,000 full-time workers in 2015 from 13.4 cases in 2014. (See chart C.) The number of struck by 
  object or equipment cases for laborers and freight, stock, and material movers increased to 12,240 
  cases in 2015 and contributed to the overall increase. 

Nature of injury or illness

The leading nature (type) of injury or illness in 2015 for all ownerships was sprains, strains, or tears with 
421,610 days-away-from-work cases accounting for 37 percent of total cases. The 2015 rate was 38.0 
cases per 10,000 full-time workers, down from a rate of 38.9 in 2014. Workers who sustained sprains, 
strains, or tears required a median of 10 days away from work compared to 8 days for all types of injuries 
or illnesses. (See table 4 and chart D.)

(Chart D. appears here in the printed news release.)
Chart D. Percent distribution for occupational injuries and illnesses with days away from work by selected nature of injury 
or illness, all ownerships, 2015
 
* The rate of injuries and illnesses resulting from cuts, lacerations, or punctures was 9.6 cases per 
  10,000 full-time workers in 2015, up from 8.8 cases in 2014.  (See table 7.) Laborers and freight, 
  stock, and material movers; maintenance and repair workers, general; and janitors and cleaners were 
  among the occupations that had increases in the number of cuts, lacerations, or punctures cases in 2015. 

* Fractures (31 days), carpal tunnel syndrome (28 days), and amputations (22 days) required 14 or more 
  additional median days away from work to recuperate than all types (8 days) of injuries or illnesses in 
  2015.  (See table 4.) However, less than 1 percent of total cases resulted in carpal tunnel syndrome or 
  amputation. Occupational injuries and illnesses with days away from work resulted in a fractured bone 
  in 9 percent of total cases. (See chart D.)

Industry

Three private industry sectors had more than 100,000 days-away-from-work incidents in 2015: health care 
and social assistance (158,410), retail trade (123,770), and manufacturing (122,610). These 3 industries 
also had rates greater than the total rate of 93.9 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. (See tables 1 and 2.)

 Health care and social assistance

  * The incidence rate was 113.6 cases in 2015, down from 121.3 cases in 2014. (See table 1.)

  * The rate of fractures was 7.4 cases in 2015, up from 6.9 cases in 2014. (See table 2.)

  * The median days away from work was 6 days in 2015, the same as reported in 2014.

 Retail trade

  * The incidence rate was 105.3 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015, which was not 
    statistically different from the rate of 104.5 reported in 2014. (See table 1.)

  * Cuts and lacerations accounted for 11 percent (13,490) of the total cases in retail trade in 2015. 

  * The rate of cuts and lacerations was 11.5 cases in 2015, up from 10.6 cases in 2014. (See table 2.)

 Manufacturing

  * The incidence rate in manufacturing was 99.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015, down 
    from 103.1 in 2014. (See table 1.)

  * The rate of amputations in manufacturing increased to 2.1 cases in 2015 from 1.7 cases in 2014. 
    (See table 2.)

  * The median days away from work in manufacturing decreased to 9 days in 2015 from 10 days in 2014.


Demographics

 Gender

  * The incidence rate for men in private sector, state government, and local government (all 
    ownerships) was 113.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015, down from 116.5 cases 
    reported for 2014. (See table 5.) 

  * Injuries and illnesses to men accounted for 61 percent (702,400) of all cases and required a median 
    of 10 days away from work, 3 days more than the median for women.

  * The leading nature of injury or illness for both men and women was sprains, strains, or tears in 
    2015. The rate for men was 41.1 cases per 10,000 full-time workers and 34.1 cases for women.

 Age

  * Workers in the age group 45-54 for all ownerships had the highest number (280,100) of days-
    away-from work cases in 2015. This resulted in a rate of 112.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, 
    down from 117.2 in 2014. (See table 5.)

  * Workers in age group 55-64 had among the highest incidence rate in 2015 with 115.8 cases per 
    10,000 full-time workers. This was not significantly different from the rate of 116.3 reported in 2014.

 Race or ethnicity

  * There were 434,250 days-away-from-work cases reported among white workers in 2015, which 
    accounted for 38 percent of all cases for all ownerships. (See table 5.) 

  * Hispanic or Latino workers had 142,170 occupational injuries or illnesses in 2015, accounting for 
    12 percent of the total cases.  

  * Black or African-American workers had 91,190 cases in 2015, accounting for 8 percent of total 
    days-away-from-work cases.

  * Race or ethnicity were unreported in 40 percent of all cases.


Notes

This release is the second in a series of releases from the BLS covering occupational safety and health 
statistics for 2015. The first release, in October 2016, covered the Survey of Occupational Injuries and 
Illnesses-Annual Summary (SOII-AS) and reported counts and rates of injuries and illnesses by detailed 
industry and case type for 2015. A third release is scheduled in December 2016 for the 2015 Census of 
Fatal Occupational Injuries. 

Data in this release are a subset of the SOII-AS data and include additional detail about the case 
circumstances and worker characteristics for occupational injury and illness cases that required at least 1 
day away from work to recuperate. While the data come from the same survey, they are reported at 
different levels of precision. For example, in this release, injury and illness incidence rates for days-away-
from-work cases are reported as 104 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. However, the same incidence 
rate in the SOII annual summary news release is reported as 1.0 cases per 100 full-time workers. Data 
users are cautioned to take into account the different levels of precision when analyzing the data. 
Additional background and methodological information regarding the BLS occupational safety and health 
statistics program can be found in Chapter 9 of the BLS Handbook of Methods at 
www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch9.pdf.

In 2014, the SOII began using the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). 
Comparison of SOII estimates for 2014 to prior years is not advised below the sector level due to this 
change. For additional detailed information regarding NAICS revisions, visit www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
This release does not present all the publishable estimates for days-away-from-work cases. Additional 
detailed data are available from BLS staff at (202) 691-6170, iifstaff@bls.gov, and the BLS website at 
www.bls.gov/iif/home.htm. Information in this release is available to sensory-impaired individuals upon 
request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal relay service: (800) 877-8339.

Days of job transfer or restriction pilot study

In January of 2012, the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) began to collect 
information on case circumstances and worker characteristics for days-of-job-transfer-or-restriction (DJTR)
cases. The pilot included six industries: specialty trade contractors; food manufacturing; building material 
and garden equipment supplies dealers; air transportation; warehousing and storage; and nursing and 
residential care facilities. The 2011-13 data from this study were published in July 2015 in 
BLS Report 1056:  www.bls.gov/opub/reports/iif/a-pilot-study-of-job-transfer-or-work-restriction-cases-2011-2013.pdf. 

Beginning in January 2015, for the DJTR study a new set of six industries replaced the original pilot 
industries. The new industries for which detailed DJTR data are being collected are beverage and tobacco 
product manufacturing; general merchandise stores; couriers and messengers; waste management and 
remediation services; hospitals; and accommodation. The 2015 DJTR data for these industries will be 
released in 2017. Data for the details of days of job transfer or restriction cases can be found at 
http://www.bls.gov/iif/days-of-job-transfer-or-restriction.htm.


Completeness of SOII

BLS has long acknowledged that some conditions that are difficult for employers to relate to the 
workplace are not adequately recognized and reported during a calendar year (for example, long-term 
latent illnesses) and are believed to be understated in SOII illness measures. Following several studies in 
the mid-2000s questioning the completeness of SOII injury and illness counts, BLS began internal 
research in 2007 and, at the request of Congress, established an ongoing research program. 
Initial research conducted between 2009 and 2012 found that the SOII failed to capture some cases but 
could not determine the magnitude or leading cause of an undercount. Researchers determined that the 
ability to match injury and illness data across different data sources was impacted by various factors, such 
as establishment type, the time of case filing, and the type of injury.
BLS initiated additional research from 2012 to 2014 that included interviews with employers in four 
states to learn more about their injury and illness recordkeeping practices. Following the four state study, 
BLS conducted a nationwide follow-back survey with SOII respondents in 2015 and 2016. Analysis of 
the results of this study will help BLS learn more about recordkeeping practices and timing issues that 
may negatively affect employer injury and illness reporting to the SOII. BLS also continues to conduct 
exploratory research on the collection of occupational injury and illness data directly from employees and 
will pilot test collection of these data beginning in 2017. For more information on undercount research, 
please see www.bls.gov/iif/undercount.htm.




 

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Last Modified Date: November 10, 2016