Nearly 3.0 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2011, resulting in an incidence rate of 3.5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate reported for 2011 was unchanged for the first time in a decade during which the total recordable cases (TRC) injury and illness incidence rate among private industry employers declined significantly each year since 2002, when estimates from the SOII were first published using the current OSHA requirements for recording occupational injuries and illnesses. The following is an overview of what was reported by the government:
Private Industry Sector
The incidence rate of injury and illness cases involving job transfer or restriction only among private industry establishments declined in 2011. Rates remained unchanged from 2010 for all other case types–cases with days away from work, job transfer, or restriction together; cases with days away from work; and other recordable cases not requiring time away from work. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting was one of only two private industry sectors to experience an increase in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2011 compared to 2010, driven by increases in cases in both the crop production and animal production (primarily dairy cattle and milk production) industries. The rate of injuries and illnesses for the accommodation and food services sector also rose in 2011, driven largely by an increase in other recordable cases in both limited-service restaurants and full-service restaurants.
Two private industry sectors experienced declines in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2011 compared to 2010–health care and social assistance (driven by declines both in hospitals and in nursing and residential care facilities) and retail trade (with large declines in cases among supermarkets and other grocery stores and several other industries). Manufacturing was the only private industry sector in 2011 in which the rate of job transfer or restriction only cases exceeded the rate of cases with days away from work. This continued a 14-year trend during which this was true. However, the rates for these two case types have been converging in recent years and differed by only 0.2 cases in 2011.
The incidence rate of injuries only among private industry workers declined to 3.3 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2011–down from 3.4 cases in 2010. In comparison, the incidence rate of illness cases was statistically unchanged in 2011. The TRC rate among state and local government workers of 5.7 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2011 was unchanged from 2010, but was still significantly higher than the private industry rate. The incidence rates for state government and local government individually also remained unchanged in 2011–4.6 cases and 6.1 cases per 100 full-time workers, respectively.
Private Industry Injuries and Illnesses
More than one-half of the nearly 3.0 million private industry injury and illness cases reported nationally in 2011 were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction–commonly referred to as DART cases. These cases occurred at a rate of 1.8 cases per 100 full-time workers, unchanged from 2010. Among the two components of DART cases, the rate for cases requiring job transfer or restriction declined from 0.8 to 0.7 cases per 100 workers, while the rate for cases involving days away from work remained unchanged in 2011 (1.1 cases).
Other recordable cases–those not involving days away from work, job transfer, or restriction–accounted for the remaining more than 1.4 million injury and illness cases nationally in 2011 and occurred at a rate that was unchanged from 2010 at 1.7 cases per 100 full-time workers. The TRC injury and illness incidence rate remained highest in 2011 among mid-size private industry 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.
More than 2.8 million (94.8 percent) of the nearly 3.0 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2011 were injuries. Among injuries, 2.1 million (75.2 percent) occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 82.5 percent of the private industry workforce covered by this survey. The remaining 0.7 million injuries (24.8 percent) occurred in goods-producing industries, which accounted for 17.5 percent of private industry employment covered by this survey in 2011. Workplace illnesses accounted for 5.2 percent of the nearly 3.0 million injury and illness cases in 2011. The rate of workplace illnesses in 2011 (18.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers) was not statistically different from the 2010 incidence rate (18.1 cases). Rates among individual illness categories also remained unchanged with the exception of poisonings, for which the rate declined to 0.2 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2011 compared to 0.3 cases in 2010.
Goods-producing industries accounted for 36.0 percent of all occupational illness cases in 2011, resulting in an incidence rate of 31.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers–statistically unchanged from 31.8 cases in 2010. The manufacturing industry sector accounted for 30.3 percent of all private industry occupational illness cases, resulting in one of the highest illness incidence rates among all industry sectors of 40.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2011– statistically unchanged from 41.9 cases in 2010. Service-providing industries accounted for the remaining 64.0 percent of private industry illness cases and experienced a rate of 14.6 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2011–statistically unchanged from the prior year. Among service-providing industry sectors, health care and social assistance contributed 24.8 percent of all private industry illness cases and experienced an incidence rate of 30.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2011–statistically unchanged from 30.2 cases in 2010.
National Public Sector Estimates
National public sector estimates covering approximately 18.5 million state and local government workers–for example, in police protection (NAICS 922120) and fire protection (NAICS 922160)–are available from the 2011 SOII for the fourth consecutive year. Approximately 820,900 injury and illness cases were reported among state and local government workers in 2011, resulting in a rate of 5.7 cases per 100 full-time workers–significantly higher than the rate among private industry workers (3.5 cases per 100 workers), and unchanged from the rate reported among these public sector workers in 2010. Nearly four in five injuries and illnesses reported in the public sector occurred among local government workers in 2011, resulting in an injury and illness rate of 6.1 cases per 100 full-time workers–significantly higher than the 4.6 cases per 100 full-time workers in state government.
Private industry and public sector estimates are available for 41 participating states and for the District of Columbia for 2011. Data for establishments in the nine states for which individual estimates are unavailable are collected by BLS regional offices and used solely for the tabulation of national estimates. As compared to a year earlier, private industry TRC incidence rates among the 41 states and the District of Columbia for which estimates are available in 2011 declined in seven states, rose in one state, and remained statistically unchanged in 32 states and in the District of Columbia (estimates for Pennsylvania for 2010 were not available for comparison). The private industry TRC incidence rates were higher in 19 states than the national rate of 3.5 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2011, lower than the national rate in 12 states and in the District of Columbia, and not statistically different from the national rate in ten states. Differences in industry mix account for at least some of the differences in rates across states.
Source: Claims Journal
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