Non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers in 2007 occurred at a rate of 4.2 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers – a decline from 4.4 cases in 2006, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on October 23. Similarly, the number of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported in 2007 declined to 4 million cases, compared to 4.1 million cases in 2006. The total recordable case injury and illness incidence rate among private industry employers has declined significantly – by 0.2 cases per 100 workers – each year since 2003, when estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) were first published using the 2002 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

  

Key findings of the 2007 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses included:

·        The total recordable case injury and illness incidence rate in 2007 (4.2 cases per 100 workers) was the lowest among private industry employers since 2002, when recordkeeping requirements were revised. The decline is similar to that seen from 1972 to 2001, prior to the recordkeeping revisions.

 

·        Incidence rates and numbers of cases for injuries and illnesses combined declined significantly in 2007 for several case types: total recordable cases; cases with days away from work, job transfer or restriction; cases with days away from work; and cases with job transfer or restriction. The incidence rate and number of cases for other recordable cases remained relatively unchanged.

 

·        Both the incidence rate and the number of injuries alone declined significantly in 2007 compared to 2006 – 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

 

·        The incidence rate and the number of illnesses alone each declined significantly in 2007 compared to 2006 – mainly the result of declines among skin diseases and disorders and all other illness categories, which accounted for 89 percent of the decline in illness cases.

 

·        The total recordable case injury and illness incidence rates declined among five of the 19 private industry sectors – Agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting; Mining; Construction; Manufacturing; and Health care and social assistance – in 2007 and remained statistically unchanged in the remaining 14 industry sectors.

 

·        Manufacturing was the only industry sector over the decade spanning 1998 to 2007 in which the rate of job transfer or restriction cases exceeded the rate of cases with days away from work.

 

·        The total recordable case injury and illness incidence rate was highest among mid-size establishments (those employing between 50 and 249 workers) and lowest among small establishments (those employing fewer than 11 workers) compared to establishments of other sizes.

 

·        Similar to 2006, 14 detailed industries, each reporting at least 100,000 injury and illness cases, combined to account for nearly 1.8 million cases (45 percent) of the 4 million total cases reported nationally in 2007. General medical and surgical hospitals (NAICS 6221) reported more injuries and illnesses than any other industry in 2007 – more than 253,500 cases.

 

The overall decline in the total recordable case (TRC) incidence rate among private industry employers in 2007 was driven primarily by declines among all goods-producing industry sectors – Agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting; Mining; Construction; and Manufacturing – together reporting 111,500 fewer cases compared to 2006. Comparatively, while not a statistically significant increase, service-providing industry sectors together reported nearly 29,000 more cases in 2007 than a year earlier. Health care and social assistance was the only service-providing industry sector to show a decline in the TRC rate, falling from 5.8 to 5.6 cases per 100 workers between 2006 and 2007.

 

One-half of the 4 million injury and illnesses cases reported nationally in 2007 were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer or restriction – commonly referred to as DART cases. These occurred at a rate of 2.1 cases per 100 workers, declining from 2.3 cases in 2006. The two components of DART cases both experienced declining rates in 2007 compared to 2006 – the rate of cases involving days away from work fell from 1.3 to 1.2 cases per 100 workers, while the rate for cases resulting in job transfer or restriction declined from 1.0 to 0.9 cases. Other recordable cases – those not involving days away from work, job transfer or restriction – accounted for the remaining half of the 4 million injury and illness cases nationally and occurred at the same rate in 2007 as in 2006 (2.1 cases per 100 workers).

 

Injuries and Illnesses

Injuries: Approximately 3.8 million (94.8 percent) of the 4 million non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2007 were injuries – of which 2.6 million (69.6 percent) occurred in service-providing industries which employed 79.5 percent of the private industry workforce covered by this survey. The remaining 1.2 million injuries (30.3 percent) occurred in goods-producing industries which accounted for 20.5 percent of private industry employment in 2007.

 

Illnesses: Workplace illnesses accounted for fewer than 6 percent of the 4 million injury and illness cases. Private industry employers reported 21,700 fewer illness cases in 2007 – down to 206,300 cases compared to 228,000 in 2006. This resulted in a decline in the rate of workplace illnesses in 2007 from 24.6 to 21.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.

 

Goods-producing industries as a whole accounted for approximately 41 percent of all occupational illness cases and were responsible for more than 60 percent of the decline in illnesses reported among private industry workplaces in 2007. Consequently, both the number and rate of illnesses declined significantly for goods-producing industries as a whole in 2007. The manufacturing sector accounted for 34 percent of all occupational illnesses cases and reported nearly 11,000 fewer illnesses in 2007 compared to 2006. Although the number of illness cases among service-providing industries as a whole remained relatively unchanged in 2007, the rate of illnesses declined to 17.0 cases per 10,000 employees compared to 18.8 cases in 2006.