July 27, 1999
Workdays are lost by injured workers in one of two ways: days completely off work and days of restricted activity at the job. In manufacturing, unlike other industries, lost workdays are now evenly divided between the two.
The overall rate of lost workday injuries and illnesses in manufacturing has fluctuated around an average of 5.2 per 100,000 since 1976. However, the share accounted for by restricted-activity days has increased from less than 1 in 10 in 1976 to 1 in 2 in 1997.
Virtually every major industry division shows the same pattern of a rise in the restricted-activity case rate and a drop in the days-away-from-work case rate, but none of the other industries displays such a complete convergence of the relative proportion of cases. Factors that may have led to the broad trend toward restricted-activity cases include more comprehensive reporting, improved safety programs that have reduced the severity of injuries, and financial incentives to employers for encouraging employees to return to work with limited duties.
These data are a product of the BLS Safety and Health Statistics Program. More information is available from "The changing composition of lost-workday injuries," by John W. Ruser, Monthly Labor Review, June 1999.