Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Who gets included in the BLS counts of workplace injuries and illnesses?
Occupational injury and illness estimates are derived from the BLS annual Survey of Occupational Injuries
and Illnesses (SOII). The SOII remains the largest occupational injury and illness surveillance system in the
country, providing injury and illness counts and rates for a variety of employer, employee, and case
characteristics based on a sample of approximately 230,000 establishments. Figures are calculated nationally and for
44 participating states and territories (including the District of Columbia), allowing for detailed analyses
of the magnitude, patterns, and trends in occupational injuries and illnesses.
The survey captures data from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) logs of workplace injuries
and illnesses maintained by employers. The estimates cover nearly all private-sector industries, as well as
State and local government (as of 2008 data). Small farms with fewer than 11 employees, Federal government
agencies, self-employed and household workers are outside of the scope of the SOII because they are not covered
by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. More on the scope and coverage of the SOII can be found at
2. Is the BLS count of workplace injuries and illnesses complete?
BLS has funded multiple research projects that examined the completeness and quality of the occupational injury and illness
data collected by the SOII. These studies found that the SOII did not capture some cases that appeared to be within its scope; however,
the estimated magnitude of the undercount varied dramatically depending on the methodology employed by the researchers.
For additional background information on the completeness of the SOII injury and illness counts and an update on current research
please see the SOII data quality research page.
3. How many Hispanic or Latino workers have been fatally injured on the job?
In 2017, 903 Hispanic or Latino workers were fatally injured while at work. This figure represents a 3 percent
increase from the 879 fatal injuries reported in the 2016 data. Fatal injuries incurred by Hispanic or Latino workers accounted
for 18 percent of the 5,147 total fatal work injuries that occurred in the U.S. in 2017. Hispanic or Latino workers had a fatal work injury rate of 3.7 fatal work
injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2017 compared with the all worker fatal work injury rate of 3.5 fatal work injuries per 100,000
FTE workers. More information on fatal occupational injuries incurred by Hispanic or Latino workers can be found here.
In 2017, foreign-born Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 568 fatal work injuries, or 63 percent, of the fatal work injuries to Hispanic or Latino workers.
More information on fatal occupational injuries incurred by foreign-born Hispanic or Latino workers can be found here.
4. Which occupations have high fatal work injury rates?
The latest data on fatal work injury rates can be found here: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) - Current and Revised Data.
See Slide 18 of the 2017 CFOI Chart Package for civilian occupations with high fatal work injury rates in 2017. Note that occupations with the highest number of fatal work injuries do not necessarily have high fatal work injury rates. You can find more information on the using fatality rates to evaluate risk page.
5. How can I evaluate our safety record?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides incidence rates by industry, by
establishment size, and for many different case types. You can use
incidence rates to evaluate your injury and illness experience by
comparing it to the national averages for similar types of organizations.
The guide How to compute your firm's incidence rate shows you how to effectively use BLS data.
You can access all of the BLS workplace injury and illness data by going
to the Injury, Illness, and Fatalities home page.
6. How widespread is violence in the workplace? Homicides?
Workplace violence —including assaults and suicides— accounted for 16 percent of all work-related fatal
injuries in 2017 (see Slide 3 of the 2017 CFOI Chart Package). In
their article Work-related Homicides: The Facts, Eric Sygnatur and Guy Toscano note that,
"Contrary to popular belief, the majority of these incidents are not crimes of passion committed by disgruntled
coworkers and spouses, but rather result from robberies." See this table for the latest data on workplace homicides.
In 2017, there were 18,670 non-fatal cases of intentional injury by person(s) which required days away from work
in private industry; however, this accounted for just 2 percent of all non-fatal injuries and illnesses in private
industry (see Table R31.)
7. Where can I find another company's injury rate?
This type of information is not available from the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Because BLS ensures a pledge of confidentiality with all
survey participants, we cannot share any confidential information,
including any identification or injury rate. For information on
establishments that may have been cited for workplace violations or for
other regulatory guidelines, you should contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or call (202) 693-1999 (OSHA Office of Public
Affairs). Almost all establishments must maintain an annual log of
workplace injuries and illnesses, as mandated by OSHA. It is a requirement
that employers post a summary of injuries and illnesses at the beginning
of the year for incidents that occurred during the previous year for
employee access. Also, upon request, employers may be required to share
certain information with employees, but this is something that you should
address with your company or with OSHA.
8. What kind of ergonomics numbers exist?
"Ergonomics" is a general term that has different meanings to different
audiences. Most often, this term is applied to work-related
musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The U. S. Department of Labor defines an
MSD as an injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints,
cartilage, and spinal discs. MSDs do not include disorders caused by
slips, trips, falls, motor vehicle accidents, or similar accidents. The
Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes detailed
characteristics for MSD cases that resulted in at least one lost day
9. How do I compute injury rates for time periods of less
than a year?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics produces annual rates, only, based on
annual data, so any comparison may be inexact. As indicated in the guide, How to compute your firm's
incidence rate, the basic formula is:
(Number of injuries and illnesses X 200,000) / Employee hours worked =
where the 200,000 hours in the formula represent the equivalent of 100
employees working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year.
One could compute a partial year incidence rate by dividing the number
of cases by the hours worked for a certain period, and then multiplying
the result by the part of 200,000 (the 12-month constant) represented by
that certain period. For a single month, you would use 16,667. This
approach, however, assumes that your injury and illness experience grows
at a constant rate for the year. The alternative is to not adjust the
constant (leave it at 200,000), and this assumes that you will not
experience any additional injuries or illnesses. Both assumptions may not
be too realistic.
10. How can I compare my firm's injury and illness experience to others?
Incidence rates by industry, by establishment size, and for many different case types
are available from BLS. Using incidence rates allows a firm to evaluate its injury and
illness experience and compare its experience to other firms doing the same type of work
and of the same employment size group. A guide that describes how to
compute your firm's incidence rate is available.
11. I am a safety specialist interested in the types of injuries and illnesses that are occurring in my industry. I would like to know which employees are most likely
to be injured, and what events are causing most of the injuries and illnesses. Do you have data that can help me?
Yes. Both the case and demographic data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and
Illnesses and the fatal injury data available from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries
provide this information. Access to these data is provided from the Data section of our Safety and Health Statistics home page.
12. What information do the survey data provide about workers who are injured?
The age, sex, occupation, race, and length of service with employer are the attributes
of the worker collected for days away from work cases. For the Nation and for
participating States, distributions of days away from work cases by the various categories
comprising each worker characteristic can be developed. From those distributions,
important worker groups can be identified and separate injury and illness profiles
developed. For example, separate profiles for women, older workers, and nursing
occupations can be developed.
One analytical approach to identifying relatively hazardous jobs will be to compare a
job's share of total employment to its share of total days away from work cases. This
employment-injury comparison also can be useful at the State level, although usually at a
higher level of occupational aggregation. The Bureau's annual bulletin Geographic
Profiles provides figures on women employed in farming, forestry, and fishery
occupations which can be compared to OSH State data for the same workers. Access to these
data is provided from the Data section of our Safety and
Health Statistics home page.
13. What information do the survey data provide about the injuries that have occurred?
Physical condition (nature), part of the body affected, source, and event/exposure will
be the principal case characteristics gleaned from employers' descriptions about the
circumstances surrounding the incidents. The principal case characteristics and
their categories can be presented in separate tabulations for the Nation and for
Frequency distributions and incidence rates for most case characteristic categories can
be generated. These incidence rates tell us, for example, how frequently disabling falls
occur in the construction industry of various States. With this information, a State with
a relatively high rate of such falls might devote more resources to the study of how
employers and employees are dealing with this particular hazard and offer advice on
working under adverse weather conditions or the use of safety gear. Access to these data
is provided from the Data section of our Safety and Health
Statistics home page.
14. Who uses these data?
Employers and employees, policymakers, safety standards writers, safety inspectors,
health and safety consultants, and researchers are some of the most frequent users of
Employers and employees need definitive statistics on what kinds of
serious injuries and illnesses occur to others whose work and workforce size are similar
to theirs. BLS Safety and Health data permit employers to learn about the circumstances
surrounding those incidents so that they can disarm potential hazards where they work.
Policymakers need to know how the safety and health of workers in
their State compares to workers in other States doing comparable work. The survey helps
these managers determine the additional need for State safety and health programs.
Safety standards writers need to know the factors surrounding injuries
and illnesses that their standards were meant to prevent. Do those standards need
revision, or just better enforcement? Are new standards needed for uncovered incidents?
The survey supplemented by special studies can help answer important questions of this
Safety inspectors need to know how best to allocate their time among
and within establishments. By targeting where injuries and illnesses most frequently occur
and their characteristics, survey data help in selecting which firms to visit and what
hazards to look for. These visits are also opportunities for inspector and employer to
consult on ways to eliminate work hazards.
Safety and health consultants need to understand job hazards fully to
develop effective training packages and educational materials for employers and their
employees. The survey collects information on work activity that will help consultants
piece together what precipitated an accident or exposure. Special studies of work hazards
can provide additional assistance.
Researchers need to direct their limited resources at widespread
problems, such as the proper manual lifting techniques and the best designs for tools and
safety gear. They find survey data useful in focusing on those work hazards.
15. How many musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) cases involved health care patient handling?
Of the 282,750 musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) cases in private industry in 2017 that resulted in days from work, 57,030 were in the healthcare and social assistance industry sector (20 percent). The source of injury or illness in about 49 percent of those cases (27,760) was a health care patient or resident of a health care facility. This accounted for approximately 10 percent of all private industry MSDs in 2017. Of the 27,760 MSD cases that involved a patient in 2017, nursing assistants experienced 12,460 MSD cases. Another 5,510 occurred to registered nurses.
16. What types of rates are available from the IIF program? How can they be compared?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF) program has two components that collect and publish data on injuries, illnesses,
and fatalities in the workplace: the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).
SOII is an establishment-based survey of approximately 230,000 private industry and State and local government establishments annually to produce estimates
of employer-reported nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses. SOII publishes two sets of estimates. One set of SOII estimates provides the numbers and incidence rates
of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by detailed industry and types of case—for example, total recordable cases, days-away-from-work cases, etc. A second set
of SOII estimates provides the numbers and incidence rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by case circumstances and worker characteristics for cases that
involved days away from work.
CFOI is a census that collects data on all fatal occupational injuries in the United States. CFOI publishes numbers and rates of fatal occupational injuries.
SOII and CFOI collect data and publish incidence rates in different ways, and thus should not be compared to each other. Nonfatal incidence rates by industry are
calculated using hours-worked data collected as part of the SOII and are expressed per 100 full-time workers for injury and illness, or injury only cases, and per
10,000 full-time workers for illness cases. Incidence rates for case circumstances and worker characteristics are calculated using hours-worked data collected as part
of the SOII for industry and case characteristic rates, as well occupational employment data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and Occupational Employment Survey
(OES) for demographic and occupational rates. Incidence rates for case circumstances and worker characteristics are expressed per 10,000 full-time workers. Fatal injury
rates are calculated using hours-worked data provided by the Current Population Survey (CPS) and are expressed per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.
Users should consider a few important factors when comparing different types of nonfatal incidence rates and fatal injury rates.
Nonfatal incidence rates: While incidence rate estimates are constructed for comparability, care should be exercised when comparing estimates among different states, or
between a state and the U.S. as a whole, due to potential differences in industry composition across states. Similar caution should be used when comparing estimates
between private sector and public sector industries in any particular state due to potential differences in industry makeup and the nature of work done between ownership
Fatal injury rates: Fatal injury rates are not comparable between a state and the nation as a whole. Comparing state rate data to national rate data is not possible in
CFOI since national fatal injury rates break out government industries separately while state fatal injury rates do not. See the
Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries: Calculation section of the BLS Handbook of Methods for more information.
Care should be taken when comparing fatal injury rates across states. Different industry mixes at the industry sector level (the only level at which CFOI publishes state
fatal injury rates) make state-to-state comparisons ill-advised.
These different industry mixes are a factor when examining both SOII and CFOI rates. Take for instance a comparison of rates in the agriculture industry in Wisconsin and
Florida. Wisconsin’s agriculture industry is primarily animal production; for Florida, it is primarily crop production. Comparing rates in the agriculture industry between
these two states would not be advisable since one would be comparing two very different types of agriculture - each with its own workers, equipment, work environments,
specific job tasks, hazards, etc.
In 2008, CFOI implemented a new methodology, using hours worked for fatal work injury rate calculations rather
than employment. For additional information on the fatal work injury rate methodology,
please see this notice for more information.
For more information on rates, see the BLS Handbook of Methods.
17. Is OSHA electronic reporting the same as reporting for the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII)?
No. OSHA’s electronic reporting requirements do not change requirements for reporting for the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. BLS realizes that OSHA’s new electronic data collection effort may occasionally require some employers to report injury and illness data to both OSHA and to BLS. BLS will continue to offer several ways to report data for the SOII to make the process as convenient as possible.
18. What is OSHA electronic reporting, who does it impact, and when does it begin?
A Federal Register notice published on May 12, 2016, describes the final rule issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to revise its Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation. The final rule requires employers in certain industries to electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness data that employers are already required to keep under existing OSHA regulations. Specifically, this rule requires that:
- Establishments with 250 or more employees must report their data electronically (data from their Forms 300, 301, and 300A) to OSHA ANNUALLY
- Establishments in "certain designated industries" with 20 or more employees must report data electronically to OSHA ANNUALLY
- Certain other establishments must also report data to OSHA electronically "upon notification"
OSHA’s planned schedule for electronic submission of injury and illness data follows:
||Establishments with 250+ employees in covered industries
||Establishments with 20-249 employees in select industries
|CY2016 300A Form
||CY2016 300A Form
||July 1, 2017
|CY2017 300A, 300, 301 Forms
||CY2017 300A Form
||July 1, 2018
CY2018 and beyond
|300A, 300, 301 Forms
||March 2 (annually)
19. Where can I find additional information regarding OSHA’s recordkeeping rule requiring employers to electronically submit injury and illness data?
Visit OSHA’s webpage for additional information on their recordkeeping rule requiring employers to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA. Additional questions should be directed to OSHA.
20. Can employers submit data to either BLS or OSHA and not both?
No. BLS is charged with producing accurate and statistically valid estimates of work-related injuries and illnesses among U.S. workplaces. Unfortunately, OSHA data collection processes were not designed to ensure the validity, accuracy, or completeness of data necessary for BLS to tabulate statistically valid estimates of workplace injuries and illnesses using OSHA data. However, BLS has begun researching alternative methodologies that may allow the use of OSHA-collected data in the future as a way to minimize reporting burden.
In the meantime, private industry employers continue to be required by law to respond to the SOII. Individual State laws determine whether response to the SOII is mandatory for State and local government establishments within each State. BLS is not permitted to share the identity of SOII respondents and the data that they provide to BLS are kept in strict confidence in accordance with Bureau of Labor Statistics Data Integrity Guidelines and with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) of 2002. BLS uses data collected from the SOII for statistical purposes only to estimate counts and rates of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among U.S. workplaces. CIPSEA prohibits BLS from disclosing or releasing respondent data in identifiable form to unauthorized persons.
In addition to CIPSEA provisions governing BLS confidentiality, several other laws also play a role in ensuring confidentiality of BLS data. These include the Privacy Act which requires the government and its agents to protect personal information it collects and maintains on private citizens. Further, the Workforce Investment Act prohibits the disclosure of data collected for statistical purposes. The Trade Secrets Act prohibits disclosure of confidential business information collected and maintained by the government. Additionally, BLS employees are guided by internal policies and procedures with respect to safeguarding confidential data.
21. Will BLS use OSHA-collected data for the SOII?
Data collected by OSHA do not currently meet BLS requirements for producing accurate and statistically valid estimates. Additional research is necessary to determine if or how BLS may be able to utilize data collected by OSHA. BLS is currently evaluating methodologies that may allow for use of OSHA-collected data in the future as a way to minimize reporting burden.
22. OSHA did not ask me questions about my OSHA log. Why is the BLS contacting me to clarify and correct data reported from my OSHA log for the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII)?
The BLS is charged with providing accurate and statistically valid estimates of rates and counts of workplace injuries and illnesses in the United States and conducts the SOII annually for this purpose. BLS reviews your data extensively for accuracy and validity and may contact employers to verify data reported for the SOII or to correct things like typographical errors or anomalous data. In order to accurately estimate the injuries and illnesses occurring in each industry, BLS must ensure that the data provided by employers are correct and that they match the establishment(s) selected to participate annually in the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII).
Last Modified Date: December 18, 2018