BLS: Injuries requiring days off the job drop by 7 percent in '08
Workplace injuries continued their downward trend in 2008, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Overall, there were 1.1 million cases requiring days away from the job out of 3.7 million total recordable cases as reported by the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. The agency found that both the rate and the number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in private industry decreased 7 percent from 2007 to 2008. The rate decreased to 113 lost time injuries and illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers, while the number of cases decreased by 80,730.
The study also noted that the median number of days away from work -- a key measure of severity of the injuries and illnesses -- increased to eight days in 2008 after holding steady at seven days for the previous four years.
Among the highlights of the study, the BLS found that:
- Some industries improved. The number of cases for construction laborers decreased 8 percent from 2007 to 2008 to a total of 31,310. However, the rate (383 cases per 10,000 workers) remained unchanged. For retail sales employees, the number of cases (28,900) dropped by 12 percent in 2008 while the rate (90.1 cases per 10,000 workers) decreased by 13 percent.
- Ergonomic issues remain a problem. The total number of musculoskeletal disorders declined to a six-year low of 317,440 cases while the rate of MSDs dropped to 33 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, from 35 cases in 2007. However, the study found that the percentage of MSDs out of total injury cases has not varied greatly since 2005 and still accounted for nearly one-third of injuries that required days away from the job in 2008.
- Aging workers reported more injuries. The number of injuries and illnesses to workers 55 to 64 years old and workers 65 and older increased 3 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
- Hispanic and Latino workers saw increase in injuries. The number of injury and illness cases for Hispanic or Latino workers in transportation and material moving occupations increased 10 percent to 27,770 cases from 2007.
- Strains and sprains account for most injuries. In 2008, sprain or strain injuries accounted for 39 percent of total injury and illness cases requiring days away from work, decreasing 7 percent to 416,620 cases. Forty-five percent of sprains or strains were the result of overexertion. Bodily reaction (such as bending, reaching, twisting, or slipping without falling) accounted for another 22 percent. In 40 percent of the sprain and strain cases, the back was injured.
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January 21, 2010
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