Both the rate and the number of occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days
away from work decreased from 2005 to 2006, according to a report released by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department Labor, on November 8.
The 2006 rate was 128 per 10,000 workers, a decrease of 6 percent from 2005. There were
1.2 million cases requiring days away from work in
private industry, which represented a decrease of 51,180 cases (or 4 percent). Median
days away from work—a key measure of the severity of the injury or illness—was 7 days
in 2006, the same as the prior two years.
Key findings for 2006 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away
- Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants, had 49,480 days away from work cases
and a rate of 526 per 10,000 workers, which was more than four times the total for
- Three other occupations with more than 40,000 cases had rates above 400 per
10,000 workers: construction laborers (488); laborers and freight, stock, and
material movers (466); and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (411).
- Men had a days-away-from-work rate of 143 per 10,000 workers; the rate for
women was 106 per 10,000 workers.
- Four out of ten days away from work cases were sprains or strains.
Approximately one in five of these were suffered by laborers and freight, stock,
and material movers; heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; and nursing aides,
orderlies, and attendants.
- Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 30 percent of the injuries and
illnesses with days away from work, the same percentage as in 2005.
* New Rates by Occupation, Gender, and Age group *
* With the 2006 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), BLS added selected *
* injury and illness rates by occupation, by gender, and by age group for cases with days *
* away from work. Occupational estimates are available at the detailed occupation level *
* for the Nation and at the occupational group level for the Nation and States. In addition, *
* rates are available by gender, age group, and occupation for selected case characteristics. *
This release is the third in a series of three releases from the BLS covering
occupational safety and health statistics in 2006. The first release, in August 2007,
covered work-related fatalities from the 2006 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. In
October 2007, BLS reported that there were 4.1 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses in
2006, based on the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. This final release
covers the circumstances of the injuries and illnesses and the characteristics of the
workers involved in the 1.2 million nonfatal cases that required days away from work to
Case characteristics provide detailed information on the circumstances of nonfatal
workplace injuries and illnesses that required one or more days away from work. The
survey uses four case characteristics—nature, part of body, source, and event or
exposure—to describe a workplace incident.
A nursing aide sprains her back from overexertion in lifting a health care patient.
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(nature) (part of body) (event or exposure) (source)
* Sprains and strains was the leading nature of injury and illness in every major
industry sector (see table 5). These injuries decreased by 6 percent for total private
industry in 2006 and for both goods-producing and service-providing industries.
Trade, transportation, and utilities reported 157,380 sprains and strains, 33 percent of
* The overall number of cases of carpal tunnel syndrome decreased by 21 percent.
Workers on the job 5 years or more had a decrease of 27 percent for these kinds of
* The part of the body most affected by work incidents was the trunk (including the
shoulder and back) accounting for 34 percent of all cases. Cases involving the trunk
decreased by 6 percent from 2005. Injuries and illnesses to the back made up
62 percent of the days-away-from-work cases involving the trunk.
* Floors, walkways, and ground surfaces were the source of injury or illness for
18 percent of all days-away-from-work cases. Worker motion or position accounted
for 14 percent.
* Assaults and violent acts (by person) increased by 10 percent, with those to women
increasing 21 percent to 10,400 cases. Sixty percent of the assaults and violent acts
(by person) occurred in health care and social assistance and mainly involved assaults
by health care patients.
* Injuries and illnesses due to repetitive motion decreased by 13 percent.
* Falls from a ladder decreased by 17 percent.
(Chart appears here in the printed release)
In addition to these four case characteristics, BLS collects the time of day and day
of the week the injury or illness occurred and the time the employee had spent on the job
before the incident.
* Of the injuries and illnesses with days away from work (for which the time of the
incident was reported), the eight-hour period from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. accounted
for 65 percent of the cases in 2006. The 4:00 a.m. to midnight time period accounted
for 20 percent of the cases.
* In those cases where employers reported how long the employee had been on the job
before the incident occurred, workers on the job from two to four hours incurred the
highest number of injuries and illnesses (248,980 or 26 percent). Employees on the
job for more than eight hours accounted for 12 percent of cases.
* Eighty-seven percent of injuries and illnesses occurred on Monday through Friday.
The exception to this pattern was the leisure and hospitality sector, where 27 percent
of injuries and illnesses occurred during the weekend.
Demographic characteristics include gender, age, race or ethnic origin, and length
of service with the employer at the time of the incident (see tables 1, 2, and 8). For 2006,
BLS has new incidence rate data for gender and age group (see tables 16-19).
* Men accounted for 66 percent of all days-away-from-work cases, and had an
incidence rate (143 per 10,000 workers) 35 percent higher than the rate of 106 for
* Injuries and illnesses to Asian workers increased by 16 percent from 2005, while the
other ethnic groups experienced declines in workplace incidents. Race or ethnicity
was unreported in 32 percent of days-away-from-work cases.
* The number of injuries and illnesses to Hispanic workers in the construction and
extraction occupations (34,170) increased 7 percent from 2005.
* Workers who were 20 to 44 years old accounted for 60 percent of injured and ill
workers. Within that age range, workers age 20 to 24 had a rate of 143 per
10,000 workers, higher than the rate of 128 for all workers.
* The number of days away from work rose with the age of the worker from a median
of 1 day for workers 14- and 15-years old to a median of 15 days for workers 65 and
Among major occupational groups, transportation and material moving
occupations had the highest rate at 301 per 10,000 workers and 239,710 injuries and
illnesses requiring days away from work in 2006. Computer and mathematical
occupations had the lowest rate, 11 (see table 16). The rate for all occupations was 128.
Three occupations at the detail level had incidence rates over 1,000 per
10,000 workers: Athletes and sports competitors (1,720), Psychiatric aides (1,067), and
Mining roof bolters (1,018). Rates this high indicate that at least one in ten workers in
these three occupations experienced an injury or illness requiring days away from work
in 2006. These occupations, however, did not have a high number of cases and, like
some other occupations with small numbers of workers, are not listed in the tables of this
The five occupations that have the highest number of days away from work cases were:
* Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers experienced the highest number of
days-away-from-work injuries and illnesses, 85,120 in 2006; however, this represents
a decrease of 8 percent from 2005. This occupation had a rate of 466 per
10,000 workers. Eighty-four percent of these injuries and illnesses were to men.
Sixty-five percent of the total cases for this occupation were in the trade,
transportation and utilities industry.
* Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had 66,040 cases in 2006, relatively the same
as in 2005, and had a days-away-from-work rate of 411 per 10,000 workers. Ninety-
five percent of these cases were to men. The source of the injury was most often
vehicles, followed by floor or ground surfaces. The most frequent event was
overexertion, followed by contact with objects and equipment. As in 2005, the
median days away from work was 14 days, twice that for all occupations.
* Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants—with more injuries and illnesses to women
(91 percent) than to men—had 49,480 cases, a decrease of 5 percent from 2005. This
occupation had a high incidence rate—526 per 10,000 workers. Fifty-six percent of
the injuries and illnesses to these workers involved health care patients, of which
86 percent were due to overexertion.
* Construction laborers had the fourth highest number of cases with 40,510 and a rate
of 488 per 10,000 workers. Ninety-seven percent of these injuries and illnesses were
to men. Contact with objects or equipment was the most common event in this
occupation and the most frequent source of injury was parts and materials.
* Retail salespersons had 33,210 cases, remaining unchanged from 2005. Floors and
walkways were the most frequent source of injury. The rate of injury and illness for
this occupation was 106, 17 percent below the private-sector average.
As in 2005, eleven detailed occupations, including the five discussed above, each
had more than 20,000 injuries and illnesses with days away from work. Together they
accounted for 36 percent of all cases (see table 4). These same eleven occupations have
had more than 20,000 cases in each of the last three years.
Workers in the goods-producing industries experienced 380,440 injuries and
illnesses with days away from work and had an incidence rate of 167 per 10,000 workers
in 2006. Service-providing industry workers experienced 803,060 days away from work
injuries and illnesses and had a rate of 115.
Natural resources and mining had a median number of days away from work of 9.
In this sector, the mining industry had a median of 17 days. Hispanic workers
experienced 66 percent of injuries and illnesses in agriculture, forestry, and fishing,
compared to 20 percent of all days-away-from-work cases in private industry. The
overall rate for this industry sector was 170 per 10,000 workers.
Construction had the highest incidence rate—220 per 10,000 workers—of all
industry sectors but had the fourth highest case count (153,180). The rate decreased
8 percent from 2005. Men experienced 97 percent of the injuries and illnesses. The
construction industry’s rate of 84 for contact with objects and equipment was more than
twice the rate for total private industry.
Manufacturing had a rate of 141 per 10,000 workers and had 200,970 cases
resulting from days away from work. Workers in this industry were most often injured
by contact with objects and equipment (76,400). The number of cases involving
repetitive motion (14,670) remained about the same in 2006 compared to 2005. Workers
who had 5 or more years of service with their employer experienced a significant decline
in the number injuries and illnesses from the previous year (8 percent). Workers with
less than 5 years had relatively no change in the number of cases from 2005.
Trade, transportation, and utilities had the greatest number of injuries and
illnesses (354,510) with a rate of 160 per 10,000 workers. Women experienced
28 percent of the injuries and illnesses in this sector as a whole, but within retail trade
they experienced 41 percent of the cases. The transportation and warehousing industry
had a median number of days away from work of 15. The utilities industry had a median
of 14 days away from work, while wholesale and retail trade industries each had medians
of 7 days.
Information had a rate of injuries and illnesses of 67 per 10,000 workers. Fifty-six
percent of the injuries and illnesses to workers in this industry sector occurred to
those who had been with their employer for more than 5 years, compared to 31 percent
for all service–providing industries.
Financial activities had 33,300 days-away-from-work cases and a rate of 45 per
10,000 workers in 2006. Sprains and strains was the leading nature of injury and illness
with 13,210 cases. The part of body most often injured was the back with 7,180 cases.
Professional and business services had no change in the overall number of cases
that required days away from work or the incidence rate for those cases when compared
to 2005. However, cases involving contact with objects, the leading event or exposure of
injury in this industry, rose 15 percent to 25,260. The number of carpal tunnel syndrome
cases in this industry (790) has decreased by two thirds since 2003 including a 50 percent
decrease from 2005 to 2006.
Education and health services also had no change in the overall number of cases
or the incidence rate for those cases when compared to 2005. In this sector, healthcare
and social assistance accounted for 94 percent of injuries and illnesses. There were
nearly four times the number of injuries and illnesses to women (145,370) than to men
Leisure and hospitality had 96,910 injuries and illnesses requiring days away
from work in 2006, with a rate of 114 per 10,000 workers. Employers in this industry
reported nearly equal numbers of injuries and illnesses to men and women. The number
of assaults and violent acts (1,690) increased 48 percent from last year. Asian workers
experienced an 86 percent increase in the number of injuries and illnesses in this industry.
The U.S. Department of Labor defines a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) as an
injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, or spinal discs. MSDs
do not include disorders caused by slips, trips, falls, motor vehicle accidents, or similar
accidents. In 2006 there were 357,160 MSD cases. MSD cases had a median of 9 days
away from work, two days longer than the median for all days away from work cases.
The overall rate for all MSD cases was 39 per 10,000 workers in 2006.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector had 34 percent of the MSD cases
followed by the education and health services sector with 20 percent, the vast majority of
these in health care and social assistance (69,880). The manufacturing sector had
18 percent of the MSD cases. MSDs in manufacturing decreased by 6 percent from 2005
to 2006, while MSDs for all private industry decreased by 5 percent.
Read the full report and view all of the charts and data tables by clicking on the link below: