Sprains and strains most common workplace injury

April 01, 2005

Sprains and strains, most often involving the back, accounted for 43 percent of the 1.3 million injuries and illnesses in private industry that required recuperation away from work beyond the day of the incident in 2003.

Nature of injury or illness of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, 2003
[Chart data—TXT]

When sprains and strains, bruises and contusions, cuts and lacerations, and fractures are combined, they accounted for nearly two-thirds of the cases with days away from work.

Sprains and strains were the leading nature of injury or illness in every major industry sector in 2003, with 33 percent of these cases occurring in the trade, transportation, and utilities major industry sector and an additional 19 percent in the education and health services major industry sector.

The three occupations with the overall greatest number of injuries and illnesses were laborers and material movers; heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; and nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants. Laborers and material movers, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers often suffered sprains and strains to the trunk or lower extremities, stemming from overexertion or contacts with objects or equipment. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants predominantly suffered sprains and strains to their trunk (typically their back), due to overexertion related to lifting or moving patients.

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more about workplace injuries and illnesses, see "Lost-Worktime Injuries and Illnesses: Characteristics and Resulting Days Away From Work, 2003" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 05-521. The 2000 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual is now used to classify workers by occupation. Prior to 2003, the survey used the Bureau of the Census occupational coding system. Substantial differences between these systems result in a break in series for occupation data. Users are advised against making comparisons between the 2003 data and the results from previous years.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Sprains and strains most common workplace injury on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2005/mar/wk4/art05.htm (visited September 23, 2014).

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