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A look at work injuries and illnesses in elementary and secondary schools

May 09, 2023

Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the second week of May to acknowledge and recognize teachers across the country. There were 176,200 work-related injuries and illnesses in elementary and secondary schools in local government in 2021, a 40.9-percent increase from 2020. The 2021 total was still 21.1 percent lower than in 2019. There were 10,600 work-related illnesses in elementary and secondary schools in 2021, and 6,200 of them were respiratory illnesses. Cases of work-related COVID-19 infection are counted among respiratory illnesses.

Work-related injury and illness cases in elementary and secondary schools, local government, 2019–21
Year Total recordable cases Injuries Illnesses

2019

223,500 218,900 4,600

2020

125,100 118,300 6,800

2021

176,200 165,700 10,600

The respiratory illness rate for elementary and secondary schools in local government was 12.3 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2021, up from 2.8 in 2020 and 1.1 in 2019. The respiratory illness rate for all local government industries was 59.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2021.

Rate of work-related respiratory illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers in elementary and secondary schools, local government, 2019–21
Year All industries Elementary and secondary schools

2019

3.0 1.1

2020

48.2 2.8

2021

59.8 12.3

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. Information on how COVID-19 is reflected in the nonfatal injury and illness data in 2020 and 2021 is in our COVID-19 Fact Sheet. Cases of COVID-19 requiring days away from work or transfer of work duties will be reported separately beginning with the 2023–24 reporting period.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at work injuries and illnesses in elementary and secondary schools at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/a-look-at-work-injuries-and-illnesses-in-elementary-and-secondary-schools.htm (visited March 03, 2024).

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