In its annual report on workplace injuries/illnesses requiring days away to recover, the BLS said health care workers had a 6 percent increase in 2010, at 283 days per 10,000 full-time workers. That compares with the overall rate of 118 cases per 10,000 workers.
Health care workers also experienced a 4 percent increase in the incident rate for overexertion compared to a 3 percent increase overall.
Among health care workers, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants were especially vulnerable to injuries/illnesses requiring days away from work in 2010. The rate of musculoskeletal incidents increased by 10 percent to 249 cases per 10,000 workers.
"OSHA is responding by launching in the next few months a National Emphasis Program on nursing home and residential care facilities," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "Through this initiative we will increase our inspections of these facilities, focusing on back injuries from resident handling or lifting patients; exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other infectious diseases; workplace violence; and slips, trips and falls."
Additional findings. The median number of days away from work to recover from occupational injuries/illnesses was eight for the third consecutive year, the BLS reported. Transportation and warehousing had the highest incidence rate of all industry sectors, although it was basically unchanged from the previous year.
Contact with objects and equipment was among the events with high rates, although there was no significant rate change from 2009. It was followed by overexertion and falls on the same level, which each had at least 100,000 incidents in 2010.
As for the nature of the injury or illness, sprains, strains, and tears accounted for 40 percent of the total cases, of which 43 resulted from overexertion.
The back was the body part injured most, at more than one-third. While the shoulder was involved in 12 percent of the incidents, that body part required a median of 21 days to recover -- more than twice as many median days than for all sprain, strain, and tear cases.
Women had an overall incidence rate increase of 5 percent, to 100 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. Workers between the ages of 16 and 19 had a nearly 10 percent increase in the rate of injuries/illnesses requiring days away from work at 117 cases per 10,000 workers. Employees aged 65 and over required the longest amount of time to recover with a median of 16 days.
Several occupations had incidence rates of more than 300 per 10,000 workers. Included were police and sheriff's patrol officers; nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants; light or delivery service truck drivers; laborers and freight, stock, and material movers; construction laborers; tractor-trailer truck drivers; and janitors and cleaners.
Among the cases that required a full month or more of recovery time were construction, and transportation and warehousing. Construction had 50 such cases per 10,000 workers while transportation and warehousing had 92 -- more than triple the overall rate for workers requiring 31 days or more.
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December 19, 2011
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