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Feds report little change in nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses

Private industry employers reported nearly 45,800 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2017 compared with a year earlier, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday.

There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017, which occurred at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers, according to the new figures.

Meanwhile, four industry subsectors reported at least 15,000 days away from work cases in 2017: the number of such cases in warehousing and storage increased from 2016 while the incidence rate was essentially unchanged. Three other industry subsectors — hospitals, administrative and support services, and social assistance — saw decreases in both their case counts and incidence rates for days away from work cases.

The 2017 rate of total recordable cases fell 0.1 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers, a reduction that’s been at play since 2012, according to the data. The rates for different types of cases—including days away from work, days of job transfer or restriction only, and other recordable cases—were unchanged from 2016. Nearly one-third of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses resulted in days away from work, mirroring the 2016 reports.

In total, there were 882,730 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2017 that resulted in days away from work in private industry, unchanged from 2016. The private industry incidence rate for days-away-from-work cases was 89.4 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2017. The median days away from work — a key measure of the severity of cases — was eight in 2017, unchanged from 2016, according to the data.

Among the 19 private industry sectors, only manufacturing and finance and insurance experienced statistically significant changes in their overall rates of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2017 — each declined by 0.1 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers compared with 2016, according to the data.

The number of days away from work cases involving overexertion in lifting or lowering rose 3,250 cases to 97,990 in 2017, while the rate was unchanged at 9.9 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers, according to the data.

The number of days away from work cases involving workers struck by objects or equipment fell 4,180 cases to 136,510 in 2017 and the rate decreased to 13.8 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from 14.5 in 2016, according to the data.

Other findings that tackled individual industries include:

  • In manufacturing, the incidence rate of total recordable cases decreased in 2017; however, the days away from work rate was unchanged from 2016 at 93 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers. There were 115,550 days away from work cases in manufacturing, which was essentially unchanged from 2016. The median days away from work in manufacturing was eight, one day fewer than in 2016.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 34% of the days away from work cases in manufacturing and fell 1,930 cases to 38,950 in 2017.
  • In warehousing and storage, the number of days away from work cases rose 2,930 cases to 17,390 in 2017. The incidence rate, 182.4 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers, in 2017 was unchanged from 2016.
  • The number of days away from work cases in warehousing and storage resulting from overexertion and bodily reaction rose 1,350 cases to 8,310 in 2017; contact with objects and equipment rose 620 cases to 4,370; and falls, slips or trips rose 480 cases to 3,030.
  • Transportation and material moving workers incurred 12,750 DAFW cases in 2017, an increase of 3,120 cases from 2016.
  • In hospitals, the 51,380 days away from work cases in 2017 resulted in an incidence rate of 129.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, down from 134.3 in 2016.
  • The incidence rate for days away from work cases in hospitals resulting from overexertion and bodily reaction decreased to 56.7 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2017, from 62.1 in 2016.
  • The incidence rate for days away from work cases resulting from falls on the same level increased to 25.2 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2017, from 23.6 in 2016.
  • Health care practitioners suffered 23,570 days away from work cases in 2017, down 600 cases from 2016.
  • In administrative and support services, the number of days away from work cases fell 5,680 cases to 37,380 in 2017. The incidence rate fell to 78 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers, from 91.2 in 2016. Falls, slips or trips in that sector was the leading type of event or exposure resulting in days away from work cases in 2017 and decreased 2,430 cases to 11,140.