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2.6 million workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry in 2021, down 1.8 percent from 2020

November 16, 2022

There were 2.6 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2021, a 1.8-percent decrease from 2.7 million cases in 2020. In 2021, the incidence rate of total recordable cases in private industry was 2.7 cases per 100 full-time workers, unchanged from 2020.

Total reported, injury, and illness case counts, private industry, 2019–21
Year Total reported cases Injuries Illnesses


2,814,000 2,686,800 127,200


2,654,700 2,110,100 544,600


2,607,900 2,242,700 365,200

The decline in the total number of cases was due to a drop in illness cases. Private industry employers reported 365,200 nonfatal illnesses in 2021, a drop of 32.9 percent from 544,600 cases in 2020. Total reported injury cases increased 6.3 percent in 2021 to 2.2 million cases.

The decrease in illness cases was driven by a 37.1-percent decrease in employer-reported respiratory illnesses. There were 269,600 respiratory illness cases in 2021, down from 428,700 in 2020. The rate of illness cases also decreased in 2021, from 55.9 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2020 to 37.7 cases in 2021.

Case counts of all illnesses and respiratory illnesses, private industry, 2017–21
Year All illnesses Respiratory illnesses


126,400 10,400


126,800 12,100


127,200 10,800


544,600 428,700


365,200 269,600

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more about injuries and illnesses in the workplace, see “Employer-reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2021.” We also have more charts on nonfatal work injuries and illnesses. For information about how COVID-19 data are reflected in the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, see our frequently asked questions on accessing data.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 2.6 million workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry in 2021, down 1.8 percent from 2020 at (visited July 21, 2024).

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