A news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the US Department of Labor said the change resulted from a 2.5% decrease in the number of cases reported combined with a 1.6% increase in the number of hours worked.
According to the government data, goods producing industries as a whole had an injury and illness rate of 6.5 cases per 100 full-time workers, while service providing industries had a rate of 4.2 cases per 100 full-time workers. Both of these rates declined by 0.2 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers from the rates reported for 2003. Among the goods producing industry sectors, incidence rates during 2004 ranged from 3.8 cases per 100 full-time workers in mining to 6.6 cases per 100 full-time workers in manufacturing. Within the service providing industry sectors, incidence rates ranged from 0.9 cases per 100 full-time workers in the finance and insurance sector to 7.3 cases per 100 full-time workers in transportation and warehousing.
Among all private industry sectors only the utilities sector experienced a significant increase in the injury and illness rate, rising from 4.4 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2003 to 5.2 cases in 2004.
For private industry in 2004, rates for injuries and illnesses combined ranged from 1.9 cases per 100 workers for small establishments (1 to 10 workers) to 5.9 for mid-size establishments (50 to 249 workers). While incidence rates remained relatively unchanged for establishments employing fewer than 250 workers, the rates for establishments with 250 to 999 workers and for establishments with 1,000 or more workers both declined significantly in 2004 to 5.4 cases per 100 full-time workers, down from 5.8 and 5.7 cases per 100 workers, respectively, in 2003.
Fourteen industries, each having at least 100,000 injuries and illnesses combined, accounted for about 2 million cases, or 46% of the 4.3 million total. These same fourteen industries also reported having at least 100,000 injuries and illnesses in 2003, although their rank order has changed slightly. Hospitals led this group of industries in each year, followed by nursing and residential care facilities.
Approximately 2.2 million injuries and illnesses were cases with days away from work, job transfer, or restriction; that is, they required recuperation away from work, transfer to another job, restricted duties at work, or a combination of these actions. The remaining 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 2.5 cases per 100 workers, and the rate for other recordable cases was 2.3. Both of these rates decreased by 0.1 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers from 2003.
Of the 4.3 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2004, 4 million were injuries. Of these 4 million injuries, 1.3 million or 32% occurred in the goods producing industries, while 2.7 million or 68% occurred in the service providing industries. Goods producing industries employed nearly 22% of the private sector workforce covered by this program, while service providing industries employed 78% of the workforce.