April 26, 1999
In 1997, a total of 1.8 million injuries and illnesses that required recuperation away from work beyond the day of the incident were reported in private industry workplaces. Such cases have declined each year since 1993, when the total number of cases was about 2.3 million. From 1996 to 1997, the decline was nearly 50,000 cases.
Truck drivers experienced the largest number of injuries and illnesses with time away from work in 1997, as in the previous 4 years. The total for truck drivers, at 145,500, was down a little more than 7,000 from the year before, though. Injuries and illnesses for three occupations—construction laborers, carpenters, and welders and cutters—increased over the year.
As was the case the previous 4 years, four out of 10 injuries and illnesses resulting in time away from work in 1997 were sprains or strains, most often involving the back. (For more information on this particular type of injury, see "Sprains, strains, and tears most frequent time-lost work injury", The Editor’s Desk). The number of sprains and strains cases declined by nearly 17 percent from 1993 to 1997, slightly less than the 19-percent decline for all cases. The largest declines over the period, at 27 percent each, occurred in bruises and contusions, as well as cuts and lacerations.
These data are a product of the BLS Safety and Health Statistics program. Additional information is available from news release USDL 99-102, "Lost-worktime Injuries and Illnesses: Characteristics and Resulting Time Away From Work, 1997."