Bureau of Labor Statistics

Most reported occupational illnesses are repeated-trauma disorders

August 13, 1999

In 1996, repeated-trauma disorders accounted for close to two-thirds of reported occupational illnesses. The proportion of occupational illnesses due to repeated trauma was nearly twice as high as in 1986.

Percent distribution of reported occupational illnesses by category of illness, private sector, 1986 and 1996
[Chart data—TXT]

Disorders associated with repeated trauma were responsible for 64 percent of job-related illnesses in 1996, up from 33 percent ten years earlier. In both years, repeated-trauma disorders were the most common type of occupational illness. Examples of disorders associated with repeated trauma are conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, noise-induced hearing loss, and bursitis.

Skin diseases were the second most prevalent type of job-related illness in 1986 and 1996. However, they accounted for a much smaller proportion of illnesses in the latter year (13 percent) than in the earlier year (30 percent).

These data are a product of the BLS Safety and Health Statistics Program. Additional information is available from Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: Counts, Rates, and Characteristics, 1996 (BLS Bulletin 2512). Occupational illnesses are any abnormal condition or disorder, other than one resulting from an occupational injury, caused by exposure to factors associated with employment. An occupational injury is an injury such as a cut that arises from a single instantaneous exposure in the work environment.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Most reported occupational illnesses are repeated-trauma disorders at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/aug/wk2/art05.htm (visited December 09, 2021).

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