Safety – one of the keys to becoming a productive and reliable plant - continues to improve at American workplaces.
Data collected and analyzed by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 1.316 million lost-worktime injuries and illnesses occurred in private industry during the most recent study period. The report, released this spring, covers all work-related cases that took place between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2003.
While the case total is sizeable, it is a healthy improvement over the previous year’s data (2002), which listed 1.436 million lost-worktime cases. Just nine years ago, the BLS report chronicled 2.237 million injury and illness cases.
Manufacturing is one of 10 overall industries profiled in the BLS data.
With 225,800 lost-worktime injuries and illnesses reported in 2003, manufacturing accounted for 17.2 percent of all private industry cases. The overarching service industry category “trade, transportation and utilities” was the only private industry with more cases (405,300; 30.8 percent of all cases). Education and health services was third with 199,770 cases (15.2 percent).
Industry-specific data from this report cannot be compared with past reports because the U.S. government changed its method of classifying industries and occupations. It now uses the North American Industry Classification System and the Standard Occupational Classification manual instead of the Standard Industrial Classification system and the Bureau of the Census occupational coding system.
Suffice it to say, though, that progress occurred in the manufacturing sector. Using the somewhat broader SIC system in 2002, manufacturing cases totaled 280,000. Improvements are important because healthy workers are more productive. Also, time off for injured or ill workers can be lengthy (and, of course, costly). For manufacturing, 27.4 percent of all cases in 2003 required the injured or ill worker to miss 31 or more days of work; 46.5 percent of cases kept the worker out for at least 11 days. The average time away from work was nine days.
More than a third of all manufacturing-related cases (a total of 82,160) were classified as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These injuries, on average, led to a 13-day absence. The BLS defines MSDs as an injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage or spinal discs.
Other telling manufacturing statistics from the lost-worktime report include:
View the full report by visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site at www.bls.gov.
|Breaking Down Manufacturing’s Lost-worktime Cases|
|By nature of injury or illness (top 10)|
|Carpal tunnel syndrome||7,910|
|Multiple traumatic injuries||7,430|
|By part of body affected|
|Hand (except finger)||10,430|
|Foot (except toe)||7,060|
|By event or exposure leading to the case|
|Contact with objects/equipment||74,840|
|Struck by object||29,620|
|Caught in equipment or object||21,720|
|Struck against object||16,900|
|Overexertion in lifting||27,940|
|Fall on same level||20,490|
|Exposure to harmful substances||10,970|
|Fall to lower level||8,550|
|Slip, trip, loss of balance without fall||6,070|
|Fires and explosions||570|
|Assaults/violent acts by person||30|
|By source of injury or illness|
|Worker motion or position||44,670|
|Parts and materials||38,130|
|Floors, walkways and ground surfaces||27,270|
|Tools, instruments and equipment||14,660|
|Chemicals and chemical products||4,730|
|Furniture and fixtures||5,730|