Workplace Injuries and Fatalities Decline. Check Your Co. Against These Stats
This past April 28th marked the annual Workers' Memorial Day, a day to commemorate people killed, disabled, or injured on the job.
The good news is that private industry employers reported nearly 45,800 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2017 (these statistics just became final and are the most current numbers available) ) compared to a year earlier, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII).
The bad news is even with a 45,800 reduction in injuries, there were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017, which occurred at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The 2017 rate of total recordable cases (TRC) fell 0.1 cases per 100 FTE workers to continue a pattern of declines that, apart from 2012, occurred annually since 2004. The rates for different types of cases--days away from work (DAFW), days of job transfer or restriction only (DJTR), and other recordable cases (ORC)--were unchanged from a year earlier.
The rate for DJTR cases has remained at 0.7 cases per 100 FTE workers since 2011.
Nearly one-third of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses resulted in days away from work.
Among the 19 private industry sectors, only manufacturing and finance and insurance experienced statistically significant changes in their overall rates of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2017--each declined by 0.1 cases per 100 FTE workers compared to 2016.
Cases Resulting in Days Away from Work
Data and analysis below highlight case circumstances and worker characteristics for nonfatal injuries and illnesses that resulted in days away from work (DAFW) unless otherwise noted. Counts and incidence rates for DAFW cases are presented at a different precision level than for other case types.
There were 882,730 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2017 that resulted in days away from work in private industry, essentially unchanged from 2016. The private industry incidence rate for DAFW cases was 89.4 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2017. The median days away from work--a key measure of the severity of cases--was 8 in 2017, unchanged from 2016.
The number of DAFW cases involving overexertion in lifting or lowering rose 3,250 cases to 97,990 in 2017, while the rate was unchanged at 9.9 cases per 10,000 FTE workers. The number of DAFW cases involving workers struck by objects or equipment fell 4,180 cases to 136,510 in 2017 and the rate decreased to 13.8 cases per 10,000 FTE workers, down from 14.5 in 2016.
The incidence rate of total recordable cases in manufacturing decreased in 2017; however, the DAFW rate was unchanged from 2016 at 93 cases per 10,000 FTE workers. There were 115,550 DAFW cases in manufacturing, which was essentially unchanged from 2016.
The median days away from work in manufacturing was 8, one day fewer than in 2016.
Four minor level occupation groups accounted for 67 percent of DAFW cases in 2017, including other production workers (30,210 cases); metal and plastic workers (19,610 cases); and material moving workers (15,260 cases). The fourth group among these--assemblers and fabricators--was the only one with a decrease, down 900 DAFW cases in 2017 to 12,140.
The number of DAFW cases where the event or exposure was overexertion and bodily reaction fell 1,690 cases to 40,680 in 2017. The rate decreased to 32.7 cases per 10,000 FTE workers from 34.1 in 2016.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 34 percent of the DAFW cases in manufacturing and fell 1,930 cases to 38,950 in 2017. The rate was 31.4 cases per 10,000 FTE workers, down from 32.9 in 2016. The median days away from work was 12, two days fewer than in 2016.
Sprains, strains, and tears was the leading type of injury in manufacturing at 34,110, unchanged from 2016. The rate of 27.5 cases per 10,000 FTE workers was also unchanged from 2016. The median days away for injuries from sprains, strains, and tears was 10, one day fewer than in 2016.
Fatal Workplace Injuries
In 2017, 5,147 workers in the United States suffered fatal occupational injuries. While this represents a 1-percent decrease from 2016, the 2017 total was the second highest count of fatal work injuries since 2008.
The largest decrease in fatal injuries in 2017 resulted from contact with objects and equipment, a decrease of 66 cases from 2016. There were also 59 fewer fatal work injuries due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals.
The largest increase in 2017 was injuries resulting from falls, slips, and trips, with 38 more cases than in 2016. Fatal work injuries from transportation incidents represented 40 percent of total cases.
A greater number of fatal injuries resulted from transportation incidents than other types of events or exposures in both 2016 and 2017. Transportation incidents represented only 6 percent of nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, however.
Overexertion and bodily reaction, with 362,580 cases, represented 33 percent of the nonfatal injuries and illnesses with days away from work in 2017. Twenty-six percent of injuries and illnesses resulted from falls, slips, and trips; and another 24 percent from contact with objects and equipment.
Interested in reducing injuries in your workplace? Arbill can provide the equipment and training you need while also offering safety and environmental site audits that provide a comprehensive review of your policies and procedures. Schedule a free consultation with an Arbill safety expert today and take the first step to ensuring your employees go home safely after every shift.