BLS Reports Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Declined in 2015

November 9, 2016 Dave Anderson

Some 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2015, which occurred at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 2015 rate continues a pattern of declines that, apart from 2012, occurred annually for the last 13 years.

Private industry employers reported nearly 48,000 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2015 compared to a year earlier, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). Because of this decline, combined with an increase in reported hours worked, the total recordable cases (TRC) incidence rate fell 0.2 cases per 100 full-time workers. The fall in the TRC rate was driven by a decline in the rate of cases involving days away from work (DAFW) and other recordable cases (ORC)—each falling 0.1 cases—as the rate for cases of job transfer or restriction only (DJTR) has remained at 0.7 cases since 2011.

Private Industry

Six of the 19 private industry sectors reported a decline in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2015: mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; transportation and warehousing; finance and insurance; health care and social assistance; and accommodation and food services. Manufacturing continued an 18-year trend as the only private industry sector in which the rate of DJTR cases exceeded the rate of DAFW cases. The rates for these two case types were unchanged from a year earlier at 1.2 cases and 1.0 case per 100 full-time workers, respectively. Wholesale trade was the only sector with an increase in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2015, rising from 2.9 cases in 2014 to 3.1 cases in 2015.

Injuries and illnesses by type of case

Over half of the approximately 2.9 million private industry injury and illness cases reported in 2015 involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction (DART). These cases occurred at a rate of 1.6 cases per 100 full-time workers. The rates for the two components of DART cases — DAFW cases and DJTR cases — were 0.9 cases and 0.7 cases per 100 workers, respectively. Other recordable cases—those not involving days away from work or days of job transfer or restriction— accounted for the approximately 1.3 million remaining injury and illness cases in 2015, lowering the prior year rate by 0.1 cases to 1.4 cases per 100 full-time workers.

The rate of injuries and illnesses remained highest among mid-size private industry establishments (employing 50 to 249 workers) and lowest among small establishments (employing fewer than 11 workers). 


Injuries

Of the approximately 2.9 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015, nearly 2.8 million (95.2 percent) were injuries. Among injuries, nearly 2.1 million (75.0 percent) occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 82.5 percent of the private industry workforce. The remaining nearly 0.7 million injuries (25.0 percent) occurred in goods-producing industries, which accounted for 17.5 percent of private industry employment.

Resources:
Review the BLS news release. (pdf)
Browse Days Without Injury signs and Safety Scoreboards.


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