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  • Workplace Illnesses And Injuries In 2001












  • Workplace Illnesses And Injuries In 2001

    A total of 5.2 million injuries and illnesses were reported in private industry workplaces during 2001, resulting in a rate of 5.7 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, according to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Employers reported a 1 percent decrease in hours worked and nearly an 8 percent decrease in cases compared with 2000, reducing the case rate from 6.1 in 2000 to 5.7 in 2001. The rate for 2001 was the lowest since the Bureau began reporting this information in the early 1970s.

    Among goods-producing industry divisions, incidence rates for 2001 ranged from 4.0 cases per 100 full-time employees in mining to 8.1 cases per 100 full-time employees in manufacturing. Within the service-producing sector, incidence rates ranged from 1.8 cases per 100 full-time employees in finance, insurance, and real estate to 6.9 cases per 100 full- time workers in transportation and public utilities.

    Case types

    Of the 5.2 million total injuries and illnesses reported in 2001, about 2.6 million were lost workday cases, that is, they required recuperation away from work or restricted duties at work, or both. The remaining 2.7 million were cases without lost workdays. From 2000 to 2001, the incidence rate for lost workday cases decreased from 3.0 cases per 100 workers to 2.8 cases per 100 workers, and the rate for cases without lost workdays decreased from 3.2 cases per 100 workers to 2.9 cases per 100 workers. Lost workday cases are comprised of two case types, those requiring at least one day away from work, with or without restricted work activity, and those requiring restricted activity only. The latter type of case may involve shortened hours, a temporary job change, or temporary restrictions on certain duties (for example, no heavy lifting) of a worker's regular job. At 1.7 cases per 100 workers in 2001, the rate for cases with days away from work declined from 1.8 in 2000 and was the lowest on record. The rate for cases involving restricted activity only was 1.1 cases per 100 employees, down from the 1.2 level recorded for 1997 through 2000. Also, for the fourth consecutive year, the rate in manufacturing for restricted-activity-only cases (2.2) was higher than the rate for days-away-from-work cases (1.8). In all other divisions, the rate for days-away-from-work cases was higher than the rate for restricted-activity-only cases.

    Injuries and Illnesses

    Injuries. Of the 5.2 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2001, 4.9 million were injuries. Injury rates generally were higher for mid-size establishments (those employing 50 to 249 workers) than for smaller or larger establishments, although this pattern did not hold within certain industry divisions. Eight industries, each having at least 100,000 injuries, accounted for about 1.4 million injuries, or 29 percent of the 4.9 million total.

    Illnesses. There were about 333,800 newly reported cases of occupational illnesses in private industry in 2001. Manufacturing accounted for 54 percent of these cases. Disorders associated with repeated trauma, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and noise-induced hearing loss, accounted for 4 percent of the 5.2 million total workplace injuries and illnesses in 2001. They were, however, the dominant type of illness reported, making up 65 percent of the 333,800 total illness cases. The number of repeated trauma cases reported for 2001 (216,400) was 10 percent lower than the corresponding 2000 figure (242,000). Sixty-five percent of the repeated trauma cases in 2001 were in manufacturing industries.

    The survey measures the number of new work-related illness cases that are recognized, diagnosed, and reported during the year. Some conditions (for example, long-term latent illnesses caused by exposure to carcinogens) often are difficult to relate to the workplace and are not adequately recognized and reported. These long-term latent illnesses are believed to be understated in the survey's illness measures. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of the reported new illnesses are those that are easier to directly relate to workplace activity (for example, contact dermatitis or carpal tunnel syndrome).

    This article excerpted from the
    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics site.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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