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Employers Report 3 Million Injuries

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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From broken backs to the loss of a limb, more than three million U.S. private-sector workers suffered a serious injury or illness on the job in 2013, the government reports.

Despite the high figure, however, the incidence rate is dropping, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in the Employer-Reported Workplace Injury and Illness Summary released Thursday (Dec. 4).

The incidence rate (3.3 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers) declined slightly from last year’s rate of 3.4 cases.


The construction sectorincluding building, heavy and civil engineering construction and specialty trade contractorsreported 203,000 illness and injury cases in 2013, new data shows.

The incident rate for more serious injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, job transfer, or restriction (known as “DART” cases) also declined for the first time since 2009.

In the construction sector, 203,000 illness and injury cases were reported, the BLS said. The incident rate was 3.8 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, the report noted.


Nearly 95 percent of the more than three million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2013 were injury cases.

Among injuries, more than 2.1 million occurred in service-providing industries, which employ 82.4 percent of the private industry workforce. The remaining 24.5 percent occurred in goods-producing industries, which accounted for 17.6 percent of private industry employment in 2013.

David Michaels

Dr. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said the three million injured workers should not be ignored. "Work injuries can instantly pull the rug out from a famiy striving for a good middle-class life," he said.

Illnesses accounted for 5.1 percent of cases reported in 2013. The rate of 16.6 cases per 10,000 full-time workers was not statistically different from the 2012 rate of 17.3 cases, according to the BLS.

3 Reports

The new summary is the second in a series of three releases from the BLS covering occupational safety and health statistics for 2013. It follows the September preliminary report on fatal work-related injuries from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which showed 4,405 workplace fatalities in 2013.

A third release, expected later this month, will provide case circumstances and worker characteristics for nonfatal injury and illness cases requiring at least one day from work to recuperate, according to the BLS.

New Reporting Requirements

In September, the Occupational Safety and Health announced revised injury reporting requirements. Those changes are set to take effect Jan. 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

Under the new rules, employers, including some of those in the building industry, must report all fatal work injuries within eight hours, and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours.

A list of industries required to keep injury and illness records can be found here.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Department of Labor; Enforcement; Health and safety; OSHA; Trends

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