The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in a special report issued this week that the sectors suffering the greatest number of serious injuries and illnesses were:
- laborers and material movers – 89,510
- heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers – 71,900
- nursing aides, orderlies and attendants – 56,820
Most employees in the first two categories – 83% of laborers and material movers and 95% of heavy and tractor-trailer drivers – were men with more than 40% involving sprains or strains from overexertion or in dealing with heavy equipment, the government said. Heavy truck drivers also suffered a large portion of transportation accidents and falls.
The situation was markedly different, however, with nursing home employees. There, according to the BLS, 91% were women who suffered sprains or strains – mostly to their backs – in trying to lift or move patients.
According to the government data, job categories also suffering large numbers of ill or hurt workers off the job for a day included:
- construction laborers – 41,620
- janitors and cleaners – 35,660
- retail salespersons – 35,420
- truck drivers, light or delivery services – 33, 280
- carpenters – 29480
BLS said that in addition to the private-sector workers kept off the job for a least a day, another 980,000 employees were hurt or got sick in 2003 where only a job transfer or restricted work activity was called for.
In terms of specific injuries, there were 563,910 sprains or strains; 118,800 bruises or contusions; 96,410 cuts or lacerations; 94,960 fractures; 47,950 multiple injuries; and 22,140 cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, the BLS report said.
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