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Employer-reported workplace injuries, illnesses down 1.8 percent in 2021

Injury & illness recordkeeping

Posted November 11, 2022

In 2021, private industry employers reported 2.6 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, a decrease of 1.8 percent from 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The decline was due to a drop in illness cases – namely respiratory illnesses - with private industry employers reporting 365,200 nonfatal illnesses in 2021, down from 544,600 the previous year.

Meanwhile, total reported injury cases increased by 6.3 percent to 2.2 million cases in 2021, up from 2.1 million cases in 2020.

Other data of note:

  • Total recordable injury and illness cases increased in six private industry sectors:
    • Retail trade;
    • Transportation and warehousing;
    • Manufacturing;
    • Professional, scientific, and technical services;
    • Arts, entertainment, and recreation; and
    • Educational services.
  • Retail trade and transportation and warehousing had the largest increases in cases:
    • Retail trade: 341,100 cases in 2020 to 404,700 cases in 2021
    • Transportation and warehousing: 206,900 cases in 2020 to 253,100 cases in 2021
  • Healthcare and social assistance was the only private industry sector to see a decrease in the total number of cases; this was driven by the decrease in the number of respiratory illness cases in 2021.


This article was written by Rachel Krubsack of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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