Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: More info

Special topic surveys

In addition to the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) and Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) products normally produced in any reference year, BLS has conducted, in conjunction with other governmental agencies, various "special topic" surveys regarding occupational safety and health-related topics. These special surveys have included the following topics:

  • Survey of Respirator Use and Practices
  • Survey of Workplace Violence Prevention
  • Employer Interview Survey
  • Employee/Household Survey
  • Automated coding

Survey of Respirator Use and Practices

The Survey of Respirator Use and Practices was a special survey of U.S. employers regarding the use of respiratory protective devices conducted by BLS for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This voluntary survey provided estimates of the number of establishments and employees who used respirators during a 12-month period by type of respirator and type of use. The survey also collected data on the characteristics of the respirator program at the establishment, assessment of medical fitness to wear respirators, characteristics of respirator training at the establishment, usefulness of NIOSH approval labels and respirator manufacturers’ instructions, substances protected against by the use of respirators, and fit testing methods used for respirators. Results from this survey are available at Respirator Use and Practices.

Survey of Workplace Violence Prevention

The Survey of Workplace Violence Prevention was another special survey conducted by BLS for NIOSH. This survey studied the maintenance of a safe work environment, including the prevalence of security features, risks facing employees, employer policies and training, and related topics. Data from this survey are available for private industry and state and local government by industry and size of establishment, where size is measured by the number of workers employed. Results from this survey are available at https://www.bls.gov/iif/osh_wpvs.htm.

Employer Interview Surveys

In 2012, BLS partnered with four states to conduct a series of employer telephone interviews with recent SOII respondents to obtain information on employer injury and illness recordkeeping practices. With its state partners, BLS worked to develop a standardized survey instrument.  States contacted a sufficient number of employers to generalize the results of the survey to all employers in that particular state. Additional information on these employer interviews can be found in the 2016 Monthly Labor Review article “An update on SOII undercount research activities.”

Results from these employer telephone interviews indicated that many respondents lacked OSHA recordkeeping knowledge. This lack of knowledge may result in an overreporting of less severe injuries and illnesses cases, many that did not need to be recorded or reported per OSHA recordkeeping criteria, combined with an underreporting of more severe injury and illness cases in which the worker missed at least one day away from work. Detailed analysis of the results of these interviews can be found in the 2016 Joint Statistical Meeting article “Identifying patterns in employer reporting errors in the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.”

Following the four-state study, BLS partnered with Westat to conduct a nationwide followup survey of 2013 SOII respondents regarding their injury and illness recordkeeping practices. Initial results from this study point to similar conclusions, with a lack of respondent knowledge of recordkeeping rules possibly contributing to injury and illness cases going unrecorded and unreported to BLS.

Employee/Household Survey

In 2014, BLS began to examine the feasibility of collecting occupational injury and illness data directly from workers to complement the employer-provided data BLS collects via SOII. Research has shown that various filters, or barriers to reporting, can occur when employers collect and report injuries and illnesses. These barriers may be mitigated or avoided by contacting workers directly for this information.

Following some initial exploratory research conducted with Westat, BLS worked with NORC to develop and refine a survey instrument for use in data collection. BLS is using this survey instrument in its work with another contractor, ICF, to conduct a pilot test to determine the feasibility of collecting occupational injury and illness data directly from workers. The results of this pilot will inform future BLS decisions regarding the feasibility of a worker survey.

Automated coding

SOII collects data from sampled establishments on OSHA forms 300 and 301. We use the information provided on these forms to generate detailed statistics on the characteristics of cases involving injury or illness. Prior to survey year 2014, BLS exclusively relied on humans to code cases, on the basis of a careful reading and analysis of the case narrative. In 2014, BLS began using computer assisted coding to code a subset of cases. For more information on these efforts and results, please see our automated coding page.

Job transfer or work restriction

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is conducting an ongoing pilot study to learn more about occupational injuries and illnesses that resulted in days of job transfer or work restriction. The purpose of this study is to compare the case circumstances and worker characteristics of injuries and illnesses that require days away from work to recuperate and those that lead to days of job transfer or restriction only, without time away from work. The regular Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) includes only data on the case circumstances and worker characteristics on days-away-from-work cases; this study is an expansion of SOII to collect and report the same detail for days-of-job-transfer-or-restriction cases.

The study began with an initial set of six North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) subsectors collected for data years 2011–13. For data year 2014, case circumstance and worker characteristic data for days of job transfer or work restriction cases for a different set of industries were collected. Data and additional information are available at https://www.bls.gov/iif/days-of-job-transfer-or-restriction.htm.

Technical references

Abraham, Katharine G., William L. Weber, and Martin E. Personick, "Improvements in the BLS safety and health statistical program." Monthly Labor Review, April 1996, pp. 3–12. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1996/04/art1full.pdf.

Brown, Jeff. "Nonfatal injuries and illnesses in state and local government workplaces in 2008." Monthly Labor Review, February 2011, pp. 33–40. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2011/02/art3full.pdf.

Drudi, Dino. "A century-long quest for meaningful and accurate occupational injury and illness statistics." Compensation and Working Conditions, winter 1997, pp. 19–27. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/cwc/a-century-long-quest-for-meaningful-and-accurate-occupational-injury-and-illness-statistics.pdf.

Drudi, Dino. "The quest for meaningful and accurate occupational injury and illness statistics." Monthly Labor Review, December 2015. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2015/article/the-quest-for-meaningful-and-accurate-occupational-health-and-safety-statistics.htm.

Northwood, Joyce, Eric Sygnatur, and Janice Windau. “Updated BLS Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System.” Monthly Labor Review, August 2012, pp. 19–28. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2012/08/art3full.pdf.

Toscano, Guy A., Janice Windau, and Dino Drudi. "Using the BLS Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System as a Safety Management Tool." Compensation and Working Conditions, June 1996, pp. 19–28. https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfar0014.pdf.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Corrections to Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses data, 2011 and 2012. https://www.bls.gov/bls/errata/iif_errata_1014.htm.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Days of job transfer or restriction pilot study. https://www.bls.gov/iif/days-of-job-transfer-or-restriction.htm.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly Labor Review. Articles on safety and health topics. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/subject/a.htm.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS) manual, version 2.0, September 2010. Detailed BLS coding structures used to classify workplace injuries resulting in death and for nonfatal injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, with explanatory article. https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshoiics.htm

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: Counts, Rates, and Characteristics. Bulletins issued annually. (Before 1992, Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in the United States by Industry.)

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Standard Occupational Classification. https://www.bls.gov/soc.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Using Survey data to evaluate your firm’s injury and illness experience. Guidelines to assist employers in comparing their injury and illness experience to others with similar-size workforces in the same industry. https://www.bls.gov/iif/osheval.htm.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace injuries and illnesses, Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, and National census of fatal occupational injuries. News releases issued annually. Available for 1994 forward at https://www.bls.gov/iif.

U.S. Census Bureau. North American Industry Classification System. https://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/.

U.S. Department of Labor. "Safety and Health in the Workplace." Report on the American Workforce, 1994, chapter 3.

U.S. Department of Labor. OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping. http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/index.html.

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Standard Industrial Classification. http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/sic_manual.html.

Wiatrowski, William J. "Occupational safety and health statistics: new data for a new century." Monthly Labor Review, October 2005, pp. 3–10. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2005/10/art1full.pdf.

Wiatrowski, William J. “Using workplace safety and health data for injury prevention.” Monthly Labor Review, October 2013. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2013/article/using-workplace-safety-data-for-prevention.htm.

Last Modified Date: November 03, 2017