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BLS Reports 2007 Drop in Nonfatal Injuries, Illnesses

By SHRM Online staff  10/27/2008
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The number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in private industry dropped from 4.1 million cases in 2006 to 4 million cases in 2007, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Oct. 23, 2008.

The decrease reflects the lowest level since the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) was first published in 2003 using the 2002 North American Industry Classification System. Total recordable cases have declined each year since 2003.

In 2007, all goods-producing sectors—agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, mining, construction, and manufacturing—reported a total of 111,500 fewer cases of nonfatal injuries and illnesses and were the primary reason for the overall drop from 2006 figures, the BLS reported.

Health care and social assistance sectors were the only service-providing sectors that saw a decrease in total recordable cases of nonfatal illnesses and injuries.

One-half of the 4 million injury and illness cases reported nationally in 2007 were of a more serious nature and involved days away from work, job transfer or restriction. They occurred at a rate of 2.1 cases per 100 workers, down from 2.3 cases in 2006.

Other findings:

  • The incidence rate and the number of illnesses each declined significantly compared to 2006.
  • Workplace illnesses accounted for fewer than 6 percent of the 4 million injury and illness cases.
  • An 89 percent decline among skin diseases and disorders and all other illness categories is attributed to the drop in the incidence rate and number of illnesses.
  • General medical and surgical hospitals reported more injuries and illnesses—more than 253,500 cases—than any other industry in 2007.
  • Manufacturing was the only industry sector in the period spanning 1998 to 2007 where the rate of job transfer or restriction cases exceeded the rate of cases with days away from work.

The data is from the second in a series of three BLS releases that cover occupational safety and health statistics in 2007. The first was released in August 2008; the third is to be released in November 2008, providing case and demographic details for cases requiring at least one day away from work to recuperate.

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