Employer-Reported Workplace Injury and Illness Summary


10/27/2016 News Release: Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses--2015 

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, October 27, 2016		USDL-16-2056 

Technical information:	(202) 691-6170  *IIFSTAFF@bls.gov    	*www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm	
Media contact:	        (202) 691-5902 	*PressOffice@bls.gov 

Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2015 

There were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private 
industry employers in 2015, which occurred at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See tables 1 and 2.) The 2015 rate continues a 
pattern of declines that, apart from 2012, occurred annually for the last 13 years. (See chart 1.) 

Private industry employers reported nearly 48,000 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2015 
compared to a year earlier, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses 
(SOII). Because of this decline, combined with an increase in reported hours worked, the total 
recordable cases (TRC) incidence rate fell 0.2 cases per 100 full-time workers. The fall in the TRC rate 
was driven by a decline in the rate of cases involving days away from work (DAFW) and other 
recordable cases (ORC)—each falling 0.1 cases—as the rate for cases of job transfer or restriction only 
(DJTR) has remained at 0.7 cases since 2011. 

(Chart 1 appears here in the printed release.) 

Private Industry 

Six of the 19 private industry sectors reported a decline in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2015:
mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; transportation and warehousing; finance 
and insurance; health care and social assistance; and accommodation and food services. Manufacturing 
continued an 18-year trend as the only private industry sector in which the rate of DJTR cases exceeded 
the rate of DAFW cases. The rates for these two case types were unchanged from a year earlier at 1.2 
cases and 1.0 case per 100 full-time workers, respectively. Wholesale trade was the only sector with an 
increase in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2015, rising from 2.9 cases in 2014 to 3.1 cases in 2015.

Injuries and illnesses by type of case 

Over half of the approximately 2.9 million private industry injury and illness cases reported in 2015 
involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction (DART). These cases occurred at a rate of 1.6 
cases per 100 full-time workers. (See table 7.) The rates for the two components of DART cases—
DAFW cases and DJTR cases—were 0.9 cases and 0.7 cases per 100 workers, respectively. Other 
recordable cases—those not involving days away from work or days of job transfer or restriction—
accounted for the approximately 1.3 million remaining injury and illness cases in 2015, lowering the 
prior year rate by 0.1 cases to 1.4 cases per 100 full-time workers.

The rate of injuries and illnesses remained highest among mid-size private industry establishments 
(employing 50 to 249 workers) and lowest among small establishments (employing fewer than 11 
workers). (See chart 2 and table 3.)

(Chart 2 appears here in the printed release.)

Injuries 

Of the approximately 2.9 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported by private 
industry employers in 2015, nearly 2.8 million (95.2 percent) were injuries. (See table 5.) Among 
injuries, nearly 2.1 million (75.0 percent) occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 82.5 
percent of the private industry workforce. The remaining nearly 0.7 million injuries (25.0 percent) 
occurred in goods-producing industries, which accounted for 17.5 percent of private industry 
employment.

Illnesses 

Workplace illnesses accounted for 4.8 percent of the approximately 2.9 million injury and illness cases 
reported by private industry employers in 2015 and occurred at a rate of 14.6 cases per 10,000 full-time 
workers. (See tables 6a and 6b.) Rates among the individual illness categories were relatively unchanged 
compared to a year earlier.

Service-providing industries accounted for 64.7 percent of private industry illness cases and had a rate of 
12.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015. Goods-producing industries accounted for 35.4 percent 
of all occupational illness cases in 2015, resulting in an incidence rate of 24.6 cases per 10,000 full-time 
workers—down from the previous year. (Note: Long-term latent illnesses are believed to be understated 
in SOII estimates. See discussion regarding reporting of illnesses in section on Completeness of SOII 
Estimates.)

Public Sector

An estimated 752,600 injury and illness cases were reported in 2015 among the approximately 18.4 
million state and local government workers—for example, elementary and secondary schools, hospitals,
and police or fire protection—resulting in a rate of 5.1 cases per 100 full-time workers. The rate among 
these workers was relatively unchanged from a year earlier (5.0 cases) but was higher than the rate 
among private industry workers (3.0 cases) in 2015. Approximately 4 in 5 injuries and illnesses reported 
in the public sector occurred among local government workers in 2015, resulting in an injury and illness
rate of 5.6 cases per 100 full-time workers—higher than the 3.7 cases per 100 full-time workers in state 
government. The incident rate of injuries and illnesses among state government workers declined 
significantly from 2014 (4.1 cases), while the rate among local government workers was statistically 
unchanged from a year earlier. (See chart 3.)

(Chart 3 appears here in the printed release.)

State Estimates

Private industry and public sector estimates are available for 41 participating states, 3 U.S. territories, 
and for the District of Columbia for 2015. (See chart 4.) Data for establishments in the nine states for 
which individual estimates are unavailable are collected by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regional 
offices and used solely for the tabulation of national estimates. Detailed state-level estimates will be 
available online on Thursday, November 10, 2016; these estimates may also be requested prior to this 
date from the respective state offices. (See www.bls.gov/iif/oshstate.htm for state contacts.)

Among individual states for which estimates are available for 2015, the private industry TRC rate 
declined in 9 states and was relatively unchanged in 32 states and in the District of Columbia, compared 
to a year earlier. The private industry TRC injury and illness incidence rate was higher in 21 states than 
the national rate of 3.0 cases per 100 full-time workers, lower than the national rate in 12 states and in 
the District of Columbia, and about the same as the national rate in 8 states. Factors such as differences 
in the composition of industry employment may influence state incidence rates and should be considered 
whenever comparing rates among different states.

(Chart 4 appears here in the printed release.)

Publication Tables and Supplemental Charts

BLS has generated estimates of injuries and illnesses for many of the 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-digit industries 
as defined in the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) manual. A complete 
listing of these estimates is not available in this release. However, summary tables 1 and 2 provide 
incidence rates and counts by detailed industry (NAICS), case type, and ownership and can be accessed 
at www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm, requested from BLS staff at (202) 691-6170, or requested by email at 
IIFSTAFF@bls.gov. Supplemental tables and charts illustrating trends among incidence rates and counts 
are also available from these sources. Information in this release will be made available to sensory 
impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service (800) 877-8339.

Background of the Survey

This news release is the first in a series of three releases from BLS covering occupational safety and 
health statistics for the 2015 calendar year. The SOII presents estimates of counts and incidence rates of 
employer-reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses by industry and type of case.

A second release in November will provide estimates from the SOII for case circumstances and worker 
characteristics for nonfatal injury and illness cases requiring at least one day away from work to 
recuperate.

A third release in December will provide data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) of 
all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during the calendar year. The CFOI uses diverse state, 
federal, and independent data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries to ensure that 
counts are as complete and accurate as possible.

All statements of comparison made in this news release were found to be statistically significant at the 
95 percent confidence level. 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. Employment data cited in this news release are 
2015 annual averages from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program.

For additional data, access the BLS website at www.bls.gov/iif/.

Completeness of SOII Estimates

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.

The PDF version of the news release

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Last Modified Date: October 27, 2016