Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, 2012


For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, November 26, 2013                                       USDL-13-2257

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			NONFATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES AND ILLNESSES REQUIRING DAYS AWAY FROM WORK, 2012


The rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work to recuperate was 112 cases per 10,000 full-time 
workers in 2012, down from 117 in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total number of private industry, state 
government, and local government cases with days away from work decreased 2 percent to 1,153,980 cases. The median days away from 
work--a key measure of severity of injuries and illnesses--was 9 days. This is one day more than in 2011. (See table 1.)

Key Findings:

* Private sector incidence rate for days-away-from-work cases decreased to 102 per 10,000 full-time workers in 2012 from 105 in 2011. 
(See tables 1 and 3.) Despite the overall decrease, four occupational groups had increases in their incidence rates in 2012 including: 
computer and mathematical occupations; community and social service occupations; personal care and service occupations; and 
transportation and material moving occupations. The number of cases for these four broad occupation groups also increased. 
Transportation and material moving occupations had the highest incidence rate (258, up from 251 in 2011) of all occupation groups. 
(See table 3.)

* Local government incidence rate decreased to 178 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2012 from 193 in 2011. (See tables 1 and 3.) 
The number of cases also decreased 9 percent from the prior year to 181,340 cases. Among local government workers, the number of cases 
for building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations decreased 21 percent to 19,120 cases. The rate also decreased to 439 cases.

* Transit and intercity bus drivers had an incidence rate of 852 cases per 10,000 full-time workers for all ownerships. The majority of 
injuries and illnesses to bus drivers occurred in local government with a rate of 1,026--statistically unchanged from the previous year. 
For private sector bus drivers, the incidence rate increased to 417 from 342 in 2011. Three other occupations with high rates and at 
least 0.1 percent of full-time equivalent employment occurred primarily in local government or state government:  police and 
sheriff’s patrol officers; correctional officers; and fire fighters. (See table 4.)

* The incidence rate and total number of cases resulting from violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased for the 
private sector in 2012. (See table 1.) The rate increased slightly to 4 cases per 10,000 full-time workers and the total number of 
violence cases increased 6 percent. Increases in the number of violence cases in several industry sectors contributed to the rate 
increase--notably the health care and social assistance sector had a 6 percent increase to 19,360 cases. 

* Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) cases (388,060) accounted for 34 percent of all injury and illness cases in 2012. Both the incidence 
rate and case count remained statistically unchanged from the previous year; however the median days away from work increased by 
1 day to a median of 12 days. Laborer and freight, stock, and material movers had the highest number of MSD cases and an incidence rate 
of 164 per 10,000 full-time workers--up from 140 in 2011. (See table 18.)


Occupation (private sector, state government, local government)

Seven occupations had rates greater than 375 cases per 10,000 full-time workers: transit and intercity bus drivers; police and sheriff’s 
patrol officers; correctional officers and jailers; firefighters; nursing assistants; laborers and freight, stock and material movers; 
and emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Injuries and illnesses to four of the seven occupations occurred primarily to state 
and local government workers: transit and intercity bus drivers; police and sheriff’s patrol officers; correctional officers and jailers; 
and firefighters. Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers had the highest number of days-away-from-work cases in 2012 with 
63,690 cases (primarily in private industry) and an incidence rate of 391 (up from 367 in 2011). (See table 4.) Only occupations that 
had at least 0.1 percent of full-time equivalent employment are included in the list of high rate occupations.

For all occupations, the incidence rate for the public sector was over 71 percent higher than in the private sector. The public sector 
rates were more than two times greater than private sector rates for laborers, freight, and material movers, janitors and cleaners, and 
landscaping and groundskeeping workers. (See chart A.)

(Chart A appears here in the .pdf version of this news release.)
Chart A. Rates for selected occupations1 with high case counts, by ownership, 2012



Private sector.  In the private sector, the number of cases for laborers and freight, stock and material movers was 60,640 cases in 
2012. The incidence rate was 377 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, up 7 percent from 2011. The median days away from work for this 
occupation was 10 days, up from 9 days in 2011. (See table 4.) Injuries to workers in this occupation occurred primarily in the 
trade, transportation, and utilities industry. (See table 9.)

The number of days-away-from-work cases for private sector nursing assistants was 38,010 in 2012. The incidence rate per 10,000 
full-time workers for this occupation was 399 cases. (See table 4.)

State government.  There were 66,950 cases with days away from work in 2012 in state government--essentially unchanged from 2011. The 
incidence rate was 168 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. The median days away from work was 10 days, one less day than the median 
for 2011. (See tables 1 and 3.) State government correctional officers and police and sheriff’s patrol officers each had incidence 
rates at least two and one-half times greater than the rates for all state government workers. Correctional officers had an incidence 
rate of 480 cases per 10,000 full-time workers and 11,340 cases in 2012--by far the most injuries and illnesses in state government with 
17 percent of the total. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers had an incidence rate of 502 cases per 10,000 full-time workers and 
3,540 cases. (See table 4.)

Local government.  The incidence rate was 178 per 10,000 full-time workers and the number of cases was 181,340 in local 
government--decreases of 8 percent and 9 percent respectively from 2011. The median days away from work was 9. (See table 3.) Police 
and sheriff’s patrol officers had the highest number of cases with 28,520. (See table 4.) Their incidence rate was 624 per 
10,000 full-time workers. Janitors and cleaners had 13,750 cases in 2012. Their incidence rate was 456 cases, down 19 percent from 2011.


Table A. Changes in incidence rates by high case count occupations(1), all ownerships, 2011 - 2012


          Selected occupation	         	2011 Incidence rate(2)	2012 Incidence rate(2)    2011-2012
                                                                                             	Percentage change
----------------------------------------	----------------------	----------------------	-----------------
Correctional officers and jailers	     		544	        	459	        Decreased 16 %
Janitors and cleaners					309			263		Decreased 15 %
Refuse and recyclable material collectors		700			610		Decreased 13 %
Bus drivers, school or special client			221			194		Decreased 12 %
Bus drivers, transit and intercity			746			852		Increased 14 %
Psychiatric aides					866			964		Increased 11 %
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 These occupations had at least one percent of the days-away-from-work cases for all ownerships.
2 Incidence rate is per 10,000 full-time workers.



Private industry

In the private industry sector in 2012, the number of days-away-from-work cases was statistically unchanged at 905,690. The incidence 
rate was 102 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, down 3 percent from 2011. (See table 1.) The median number of days away from work 
was 8 days for the fifth consecutive year--this statistic is regarded as a key measure of the severity of injuries and illnesses. Three 
industries had more than 100,000 incidents in 2012: health care and social assistance (168,360), manufacturing (125,280), and retail 
trade (125,650). These were all statistically unchanged from 2011.

In health care and social assistance, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) made up 42 percent of cases and had a rate of 55 cases per 
10,000 full-time workers. This rate was 56 percent higher than the rate for all private industries and second only to the transportation 
and warehousing industry. The incidence rate for violence and other injuries (15 cases per 10,000 full-time workers) in this industry 
sector was over three times greater than the rate for all private industries. (See table 1.)

Among private service providing industry sectors, transportation and warehousing had the highest rate of injuries and illnesses, 223 
per 10,000 full-time workers. This was statistically unchanged from 2011. Workers experienced sprains and strains in this industry at a 
rate of 98 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, two and one-half times the rate for all industries. (See table 2.) Transportation incidents 
in this industry occurred at a rate of 26 cases per 10,000 full-time workers which was more than 5 times the rate for all industries. 
(See table 1.)

The mining industry had the highest median days away from work, at 21 days--down from 28 days in 2011. Transportation and warehousing 
reported a median of 20 days away from work--up from 17 days in 2011. (See table 1.)


Case circumstances

A number of variables describe the circumstances of workplace injuries and illnesses that required one or more days away from work. 
They include nature, part of body, source, and event or exposure, as well as "musculoskeletal disorders" (a combination of selected 
nature and event or exposure categories). 

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     A nursing aide strains her back from overexertion in lifting a health care patient.  
                      |          |           |                                 |
                  (nature)  (part of body)(event or exposure)              (source)

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Event or exposure.  Overexertion and bodily reaction was the leading event or exposure with 408,760 cases--essentially unchanged from 
the prior year. The incidence rate was 40 cases per 10,000 full-time workers and decreased from a rate of 41 in 2011. (See table 5.) 
Fewer cases of overexertion in local government (down 11 percent) contributed to this rate decrease. Overexertion and bodily reaction 
was the leading event or exposure for four of the five occupations with at least 30,000 cases and rates greater than 300. 
(See table B.) However, for police and sheriff’s patrol officers, violence and other injuries by persons or animals was the leading 
event or exposure.

Table B. Leading event or exposure for selected occupations1, all ownerships, 2012

Selected occupations					Days-away-from-work	Median days away    Leading event or exposure 
							       cases		   from work	       (percent of total)

------------------------------------------------------	-------------------	----------------   ---------------------------------------
			
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand		63,690			10	   Overexertion and bodily reaction (44%), 
												   Contact with object or equipment (33%)

Nursing assistants						44,100			 6	   Overexertion and bodily reaction (55%), 
												   Falls, slips, trips (18%)

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers				41,840			18	   Overexertion and bodily reaction (36%), 
												   Falls, slips, trips (29%)

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeepers		38,610			11	   Overexertion and bodily reaction (41%), 
												   Falls, slips, trips (30%)

Police and sheriff's patrol officers				32,190			 8	   Violence and other injuries by persons 
												   or animals (27%), Transportation 
												   incidents (20%), Overexertion and bodily 
												   reaction (20%), Falls, slips, trips (20%)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Injuries and illnesses resulting from repetitive motion involving microtasks resulted in workers taking a median of 23 days away 
from work to recuperate. This was 14 days more than what workers took for all events or exposures.

Nature of injury or illness.  In 2012, sprains, strains, and tears was the leading nature of injury and illness and accounted for 
38 percent of the total injury and illness cases requiring days away from work in all ownerships. The incidence rate was 43 cases 
per 10,000 full-time workers--down from 44 in 2011. Cases of soreness or pain from non-specified injuries accounted for another 15 
percent of total cases at a rate of 17 cases per 10,000 workers--up from 15 in 2011. (See table 5.)

Of the 443,560 sprain, strain, and tear cases reported in 2012, 63 percent were the result of overexertion and bodily reaction. 
Falls, slips, and trips accounted for another 23 percent. Workers injured their back in 36 percent of the sprain, strain, and tear 
cases. (See table 17 and chart B.)


(Chart B appears here in the .pdf version of this news release.)
Chart B. Sprain, strain, and tear cases by selected event or exposure and part of body, all ownerships, 2012
	      
 
Workers who suffered from fractures, multiple injuries with fractures, or carpal tunnel syndrome took a median of 30 days or more 
to recuperate before returning to work. While the incidence rates for fractures and carpal tunnel syndrome decreased from the prior year, 
the median number of days increased. For fractures, the median increased by 3 days to a median of 30 days. (See table 5.) 
For carpal tunnel syndrome, the median increased by 2 days to a median of 30 days. Fractures were primarily the result of falls on 
the same level (31 percent) or being struck by an object or equipment (21 percent). Fractures from falls on the same level required 
a median of 30 days away from work compared to 25 days for being struck by an object or equipment. (See table 17.)

Musculoskeletal disorders.  Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), commonly known as ergonomic injuries, accounted for 34 percent of 
all workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2012. (See table 18.) There were 388,060 MSDs in all 
ownerships (state and local government and private industry) with an incidence rate of 38 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. 
Workers who sustained MSDs required a median of 12 days to recuperate before returning to work, compared with 9 days for all types 
of cases. 

Six occupations together accounted for over 25 percent of MSD cases: laborers and freight, stock, and material movers; nursing 
assistants; janitors and cleaners; heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; registered nurses; and maintenance and repair workers. 
(See table 18 and table C.) Of these occupations, laborers and freight, stock, and material movers had the highest MSD case count 
of 26,770. The highest median days away from work in this group was 19 for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

The most severe MSD cases, for all occupations, occurred to the shoulder requiring a median of 24 days before returning to work, 
and accounted for 14 percent of all MSD injuries. MSDs involving the back required a median of 7 days to recuperate and accounted for 
41 percent of the MSD cases. 

Table C. Median number of days away from work and percent of total musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) by selected occupations and selected 
part of body, all ownerships, 2012

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Selected occupation							Median days away from work by part of body
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							Total	Shoulder	Back	Abdomen	Arm	Wrist	Leg	Multiple body parts
							-----	--------	----	-------	---	-----	---	-------------------
All occupations						12	24		 7	21	17	18	17		17
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers	13	18		 7	30	19	18	17		30
Nursing assistants					 6	 9	 	 5	 7	 8	 7	10		 8
Janitors and cleaners- except maids and housekeepers	14	25		12	30	17	25	23		22
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers			19	46	 	 9	25	40	71	42		39
Registered nurses					 8	12		 7	 7	13	14	11		12
Maintenance and repair workers, general			11	24		 9	14	11	10	20		13
							-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
									Percent of total MSDs by part of body
							-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------							
							Total	Shoulder	Back	Abdomen	Arm	Wrist	Leg	Multiple body parts
							-----	--------	----	-------	---	-----	---	-------------------
All occupations						100.0	13.6		41.2	4.9	4.5	5.6	10.9		5.1
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers	100.0	13.9		44.5	6.9	4.9	4.1	7.1		4.9
Nursing assistants					100.0	12.6		56.2	1.1	3.1	3.7	5.7		8.2
Janitors and cleaners- except maids and housekeeping 
cleaners						100.0	13.0		47.4	4.2	3.5	4.5	10.6		5.0
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers			100.0	15.7		35.5	6.3	5.7	5.9	13.4		3.2
Registered nurses					100.0	12.6		51.4	0.9	2.5	3.1	5.9		11.8
Maintenance and repair workers, general			100.0	16.2		39.4	6.0	7.3	1.9	13.0		4.4
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Worker characteristics

Worker characteristics include age, gender, race or ethnic origin, and length of service with the employer at the time of the 
incident. (See tables 6, 7, 8, 10 and 14.) 

Age.  The rates of non-fatal injury and illness cases declined for workers 35 and over and remained statistically unchanged for workers 
34 or younger in 2012. Workers 65 and older had the lowest incidence rate in 2012 with 89 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, but required 
the longest time away from work to recover, at a median of 14 days. Workers 45 to 54 had the most cases of injuries and illnesses of 
any age group at 293,700 cases. Of all the age groups and ownership classifications, the highest incidence rates occurred to workers 
45 to 54 in state government and local government with rates of 204 and 196, respectively. (See table 6.)

Gender.  The incidence rate of days-away-from-work cases per 10,000 full-time workers for both men and women decreased in 2012 to 
123 cases for men (from 128 in 2011) and to 99 for women (from 104 in 2011). Men accounted for 61 percent (702,250 cases) of all 
injuries and illnesses and required 10 median days away from work--three days more than the median for women. (See table 6.)

Race or ethnicity.  White workers accounted for 39 percent of days-away-from-work cases in 2012, and had a 7 percent decrease in the 
number of cases from 2011. Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 12 percent of the injuries and illnesses and black or African 
American workers another 8 percent. (See table 7.) Race and ethnicity were unreported in 39 percent of all cases.

Length of service.  Among private industry workers, injuries and illnesses to workers with fewer than 3 months of service and 
3 to 11 months of service accounted for 30 percent of all cases. The number of injury and illness cases for workers with fewer 
than 3 months of service increased 8 percent--notably in manufacturing with a 9 percent increase. Workers with 3 to 11 months of service 
had a 5 percent increase in the number of cases--notably in retail trade with an 18 percent increase. (See tables 7 and 8.)


Notes

This release is the third in a series of releases from the BLS covering occupational safety and health statistics for 2012. The first 
release, in August 2013, covered work-related fatal injuries from the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. In early 
November 2013, the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) annual summary reported the total recordable cases by industry 
and case type for occupational injuries and illnesses for 2012. Data in this third release are a subset of the SOII annual summary data 
and include additional detail about the case circumstances and worker characteristics for occupational injury and illness cases that 
required at least one 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 112 cases 
per 10,000 full-time workers. However, whereas, the same incidence rate in the SOII annual summary news release is reported as 1.1 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 http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch9.pdf.

This release does not present all the publishable estimates and rates for days-away-from-work cases. Additional detailed data are 
available from BLS staff at 202-691-6170, iifstaff@bls.gov, and the BLS Internet site at http://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 2012 data from this study will 
be published in early 2014.





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Last Modified Date: November 26, 2013