Comparing old and new statistics on workplace injuries and illnesses
January 25, 2005
In 2002, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implemented a number of changes in the definitions of injury and illness cases recorded by employers. The new definitions in turn resulted in changes in occupational injury and illness statistics provided by BLS.
When the first data from 2002 were released in late 2003, BLS discouraged year-to-year comparisons, due to differences between the 2002 data and data from previous years. Nonetheless, data users are interested in the relationship of 2002 data to data from past years.
As an example, the chart shows the six industries that recorded 100,000 or more cases of occupational injuries in 2002. This compares with nine such industries in 2000 and eight in 2001. The six industries with the greatest number of injuries were the same for those 3 years, although not in the same order.
Hospitals became the industry with the greatest number of injuries in 2002, exceeding eating and drinking places, which had been the industry with the highest count nearly every year since BLS began presenting data in this way in the late 1980s.
Among the six industries shown, there were variations in the numbers of cases between 2001 and 2002 that could be the result of recordkeeping changes. For example, hospitals may report more cases due to changes in reporting requirements related to needle sticks. The many recordkeeping changes may have affected specific industries in a variety of, and perhaps offsetting, ways.
These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. For additional information, see "Occupational injury and illness: new recordkeeping requirements," by William J. Wiatrowski, Monthly Labor Review, December 2004.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Comparing old and new statistics on workplace injuries and illnesses on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2005/jan/wk4/art02.htm (visited April 27, 2017).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
STEM occupations: past, present, and future
A look at employment and wages in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics occupations.
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.