BLS expands on injury and illnesses statistics for 2015

Occupations with the most days away from work include truck drivers, laborers, and nursing assistants

Posted November 16, 2016

Expanding on its earlier report of recordable workplace injuries and illnesses, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its figures on nonfatal occupation injuries and illnesses with days away, transfer, or restriction.

Overall, the incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work was 104 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015, reflecting a decline in overall workplace injuries and illnesses. However, the 1,153,490 days-away-from-work cases recorded by private industry, state government, and local government in 2015 were unchanged from the number of cases reported in 2014. The median number of days away from work to recuperate was eight days in 2015; the number was nine days in 2014.

Private sector

BLS statistics show that the incidence rate for the private sector was 93.9 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015, down from 97.8 cases in 2014.

Occupations with the highest number of cases resulting in days away from work in 2015:

  • Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers;
  • Laborers;
  • Freight, stock, and material movers; and
  • Nursing assistants.

State and local government

Incidence rates for state and local government workers with days away from work were essentially unchanged from 2014.

Five occupations recorded at least 10,000 cases:

  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers,
  • Firefighters,
  • Janitors and cleaners,
  • Teacher assistants in local government, and
  • Correctional officers and jailers in state government.

Musculoskeletal disorders

In 2015, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as sprains or strains resulting from overexertion in lifting, made up 31 percent of the total cases for all workers. Of the total MSD cases, 80 percent occurred to private industry workers, resulting in an incidence rate of 29.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. Private industry workers who sustained an MSD required an average of 12 days to recover before returning to work.

Event or exposure leading to injury or illness

The leading major event or exposure resulting in workplace injuries or illnesses in 2015 was overexertion and bodily reaction with 376,190 cases (33 percent of the total cases).

Slips, trips, and falls accounted for 27 percent of the total occupational injuries and illnesses in 2015, a decrease from 2014 levels.

The leading detailed types of events or exposures in 2015 included:

  • Falls on the same level (197,260 cases),
  • Struck-by object or equipment (157,490 cases), and
  • Overexertion in lifting or lowering (113,260 cases).

The incidence rate of workers being struck by an object or equipment actually increased, from 13.4 cases in 2014 to 14.2 cases in 2015.

Nature of injury or illness

Sprains, strains, or tears made up the majority of cases resulting in days away from work, accounting for 27 percent of total cases. Workers who sustained these types of injuries needed a median of 10 days away from work to recuperate, compared to eight days for all other types of injuries or illnesses.

Cuts, lacerations, or punctures accounted for 9.6 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015, up from 8.8 cases in 2014. Laborers and freight, stock, and materials movers; maintenance and repair workers; general workers; and janitors and cleaners experienced increases in these injuries in 2015.

Injuries that required 14 or more additional median days away from work to recover included:

  • Fractures (31 days),
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (28 days), and
  • Amputations (22 days).


The three private industry sectors with the highest days away from work incidents in 2015 were health care and social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing.


The BLS also separated the injury statistics by gender, age, and race or ethnicity:

  • The incidence rate for men was lower in 2015 than for 2014, with 113.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. Men accounted for 61 percent of all injuries and illnesses, with a median of 10 days away from work (three days more than the median for women).
  • Workers aged 45-54 accounted for the highest number of days away from work cases in 2015, with a rate of 112.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
  • Workers aged 55-64 had the highest incidence rate in 2015 with 115.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
  • There were 434,250 days-away-from-work cases reported among white workers in 2015, making up 38 percent of all cases.
  • Hispanic or Latino workers had 142,170 occupational injuries or illnesses in 2015, making up 12 percent of the total cases.
  • Black or African-American workers had 91,190 cases in 2015, making up 8 percent of total days-away-from-work cases.
  • Race or ethnicity were unreported in 40 percent of all cases.

OSHA Incident Tracker ToolJ. J. Keller's OSHA Incident Tracker™ Tool is an up-to-date online service that helps you simplify your OSHA Form 300 and worker's compensation recordkeeping.


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