According to information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of reported cases of private sector nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2010 declined once again from the prior year, continuing an 8-year trend. The BLS reports that in 2010, 3.5 injury and illness cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers were reported, down from 3.6 per 100 in 2009. The incident rate of injuries incurred only in the private sector remained unchanged between 2009 and 2010, with 3.4 reported cases per 100 full-time employees. Illness-only cases remained relatively unchanged as well. The only private industry sector that experienced an increase in its injury and illness incidence rate was manufacturing, which the BLS attributes to a larger decline in hours worked rather than the corresponding decline in reported injury and illness cases in that sector.

The injury and illness incidence rates in the health care and social assistance industry sectors reported an average of 5.2 incidents per 100 full-time workers for workers in these industries, down from 5.4 cases in 2009. According to the BLS data, these sectors were the only ones to report an increase in both employment and hours worked for 2010.

The construction industry also reported a seven percent decline of reported injury and illness cases in 2010, representing an average of 4 reported cases per 100 full-time workers.

Cases that involved injuries and illnesses that required days away from work, job transfers and/or restrictions (DART cases) represented more than half of the 3.1 million private industry injury and illness cases reported in 2010, although the incidence rate (1.8 cases per 100 full-time workers) remained unchanged from the prior year. As the BLS reports, manufacturing was the only private industry sector – continuing its 13-year trend – in which the rate of job transfer or restriction cases exceeded the rate of cases that required days away from work.

Other highlights of the BLS report include the following:

  • Mid-size private industry establishments (those employing between 50 and 249 workers) had the highest recordable rates of injuries and illnesses. The smallest employers (those with fewer than 11 workers) experienced the lowest incidence rates.
  • Injuries represented approximately 2.9 million (94.9 percent) of the 3.1 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2010. Of these cases, 2.2 million (75.8 percent) occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 82.4 percent of the private industry workforce covered by the BLS survey. Goods-producing industries, which employed 17.6 percent of private sector workers in 2010, reported the remaining 0.7 million (24.2 percent) of the injuries.
  • The change in illness rate from 2009 to 2010 was not statistically significant. According to the BLS, workplace illnesses accounted for 5.1 percent of the 3.1 million injury and illness cases in 2010. Broken out by sector, the following industries are responsible for illness cases reported in 2010: goods-producing employers (36.3 percent); manufacturing industry (30 percent); service-providing industries (63.7 percent). Within the service-providing sector, incidents of illnesses for the healthcare and social assistance industries represented 24.2 percent of all private industry illness cases.

Links to more detailed portions of the BLS report can be found here.