Injured workers spent fewer days away from work in 2009, according to Labor Department
The report is the third in the BLS' annual series providing a picture of workplace health and safety. The BLS attributes at least part of the overall decrease to economic factors, including unemployment and a reduction of total hours worked, especially in construction and manufacturing.
Despite the good news, the following private sector occupations had increases in their incidence rates:
- Light or delivery service truck drivers -- 24 percent.
- Landscapers and groundskeepers -- 10 percent.
- Restaurant cooks -- 20 percent.
- Registered nurses -- 5 percent.
Sprains, strains, and tears accounted for 40 percent of injury and illness cases requiring days away from work, although the number of cases decreased by 7 percent while the incidence rate dropped by 4 percent to 47 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
The number of musculoskeletal disorder cases dropped by 9 percent and accounted for 28 percent of all cases.
Age was a factor in the length of recovery time. The report showed the median days away from work increased as workers became older and ranged from three days for workers 14 and 15 years old to 12 days for workers 65 and older. However, the 12 days for older workers represented a reduction of three days from 2008.
Private and public sector.
Among private sector workers, the number of days away from work cases dropped by 11 percent to 964,900 cases, representing the first time the number has been below 1 million. The incidence rate decreased by 6 percent to 106 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
Among private sector employees, 18 percent of the injuries and illnesses occurred in the health care and social assistance industries. One in three of these injuries or illnesses were the result of overexertion.
For the first time, the report included incidence rates for workers in state and local governments. Among those workers, the report said the rate was 185 cases per 10,000 full-time workers for local government employees and 180 for state government workers. The report noted a high occurrence among public sector employees who are transit and intercity bus drivers, law enforcement officers, emergency response workers, and nursing aides and orderlies.
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December 23, 2010
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