BLS: 5.3 Injuries Per 100 Workers in 2002

January 6, 2004 ( - There were 5.3 cases of nonfatal injuries or illnesses per 100 full time workers in the United States in 2002.

The cases of injury or illness represented a total of 4.7 million nonfatal injuries in the United States in 2002. Incidents rates ran the spectrum from 7.2 cases per 100 full-time workers in manufacturing to 1.7 cases per 100 full-time workers in finance, insurance, and real estate, according to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Of the 4.7 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2002, 4.4 million were injuries. The services and trade divisions had the largest shares of injury cases, about 27% each, followed by manufacturing with just over 23%. The remaining occupational aliments were related to illnesses, with about 294,500 newly reported cases of occupational illnesses in private industry, 45% of which were accounted for in manufacturing.

For private industry in 2002, rates for the occupational infirmities were higher for mid-size establishments – those employing 50 to 249 workers – than for smaller or larger establishments, although this pattern did not hold for all industry divisions. Seven industries, each having at least 100,000 injuries and illnesses combined, accounted for about 1.3 million cases; 27% of the 4.7 million total.

Approximately 2.5 million of the report cases were with days away from work, job transfer, or restriction, whereas the remaining 2.2 million injuries and illnesses were other recordable cases that did not result in time away from work. The incidence rate for cases with days away from work, job transfer, or restriction was 2.8 cases per 100 workers, and the rate for other recordable cases was 2.5.

Data Comparison

BLS says that due to changes by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to its recordkeeping requirements, the data for 2002 are not comparable with data for prior years. A copy of the complete BLS study can be found at .

Comparable to other year’s data though was the 2002 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which BLS found had declined 6.6% in 2002 from the previous year’s levels. In fact, the 5,524 fatal work injuries in 2002 represented the lowest ever in a BLS census, which has been conducted since 1992 and represented a new low of four such deaths per 100,000 in 2002.

In 2001, 5,915 fatal work injuries occurred, excluding the 2,886 work-related fatalities that resulted from the September 11 terrorist attacks, which were tabulated separately, the BLS said. The comparisons in this latest survey do not include the fatalities related to the terrorist attacks(SeeReport: Workplaces Safer in 2002 With Fatality Decline).