Economic News Release

Workplace Injury and Illness Summary

OS NR 11/07/2013 News Release: Workplace Injuries and Illnesses--2012

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Thursday, November 7, 2013                                   USDL-13-2119

Technical information:	(202) 691-6170  * iifstaff@bls.gov  	* www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm	
Media contact:	        (202) 691-5902  * PressOffice@bls.gov


EMPLOYER-REPORTED WORKPLACE INJURIES AND ILLNESSES--2012

Nearly 3.0 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers 
in 2012, resulting in an incidence rate of 3.4 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, according to 
estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) conducted by the U.S. Bureau 
of Labor Statistics. (See tables 1 and 2.) The rate reported for 2012 continues the pattern of statistically 
significant declines that, with the exception of 2011, occurred annually for the last decade.

Key findings from the 2012 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

* The total recordable cases (TRC) incidence rate of injury and illness among private industry 
establishments declined in 2012 from a year earlier, as did the rate for other recordable cases not 
requiring time away from work. The rate for cases of a more serious nature involving days away 
from work, job transfer, or restriction--commonly referred to as DART--was unchanged in 2012, as 
a decline in the rate of cases involving days away from work was offset by the rate for cases 
involving job transfer or restriction only which was unchanged. (See chart 1.)
* No private industry sector experienced an increase in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2012.
* Manufacturing was the only private industry sector in 2012 in which the rate of job transfer or 
restriction only cases exceeded the rate of cases with days away from work. This continues a 15-year 
trend. However, the rates for these two case types have been converging in recent years and differed 
by only 0.2 case in 2012.
* The incidence rate of injuries only among private industry workers declined to 3.2 cases per 100 
full-time workers in 2012--down from 3.3 cases in 2011. (See table 5.) In comparison, the incidence 
rate of illness cases was statistically unchanged in 2012. (See table 6a.)
* The rate of injuries and illnesses among state and local government workers of 5.6 cases per 100 
full-time workers in 2012 was statistically unchanged from 2011, but was still significantly higher 
than the private industry rate. The incidence rates for state government and local government 
individually also remained statistically unchanged in 2012--4.4 cases and 6.1 cases per 100 full-
time workers, respectively.


Private Industry Injuries and Illnesses


Injuries and illnesses by type of case 
More than one-half of the nearly 3.0 million private industry injury and illness cases reported nationally 
in 2012 were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction 
(DART cases). These cases occurred at a rate of 1.8 cases per 100 full-time workers, statistically 
unchanged annually since 2009. (See table 7.) Between the two components of DART cases, the rate for 
cases involving days away from work declined in 2012 by 0.1 case to 1.0 case per 100 workers, while 
the rate of cases requiring job transfer or restriction was unchanged from a year earlier (0.7 case). Other 
recordable cases--those not involving days away from work, job transfer, or restriction--accounted for 
the remaining more than 1.4 million injury and illness cases nationally in 2012 and declined to a rate of 
1.6 cases per 100 full-time workers compared to 1.7 cases in 2011.

The TRC injury and illness incidence rate remained highest in 2012 among mid-size private industry 
establishments (those employing between 50 and 249 workers) and lowest among small establishments 
(those employing fewer than 11 workers). (See table 3 and chart 2.)

Injuries 
More than 2.8 million (94.8 percent) of the nearly 3.0 million nonfatal occupational injuries and 
illnesses in 2012 were injuries. (See table 5.) Among injuries, 2.1 million (75.2 percent) occurred in 
service-providing industries, which employed 82.4 percent of the private industry workforce. The 
remaining 0.7 million injuries (24.8 percent) occurred in goods-producing industries, which accounted 
for 17.6 percent of private industry employment in 2012. 

Illnesses 
Workplace illnesses accounted for 5.2 percent of the nearly 3.0 million injury and illness cases in 2012. 
(See table 6b.) The rate of workplace illnesses in 2012 (17.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers) was not 
statistically different from the 2011 incidence rate (18.0 cases). Rates among all of the individual illness 
categories also were unchanged in 2012 compared to a year earlier.  

Goods-producing industries accounted for 34.3 percent of all occupational illness cases in 2012, 
resulting in an incidence rate of 28.6 cases per 10,000 full-time workers--declining from 31.0 cases in 
2011. The manufacturing industry sector accounted for 29.5 percent of all private industry occupational 
illness cases, resulting in one of the highest illness incidence rates among all industry sectors of 38.6 
cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2012--down from 40.8 cases in 2011. Service-providing 
industries accounted for 65.6 percent of private industry illness cases and experienced a rate of 14.5 
cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2012--statistically unchanged from the prior year. Among 
service-providing industry sectors, health care and social assistance contributed 23.4 percent of all 
private industry illness cases and experienced an incidence rate of 28.2 cases per 10,000 full-time 
workers in 2012--falling from 30.5 cases in 2011.


National Public Sector Estimates


An estimated 792,700 injury and illness cases were reported in 2012 among the approximately 18.2 
million state and local government workers--for example, police protection (North American Industry 
Classification System, NAICS 922120) and fire protection (NAICS 922160)--resulting in a rate of 5.6 
cases per 100 full-time workers. The rate among these workers was statistically unchanged from a year 
earlier (5.7 cases) but was higher than the rate among private industry workers (3.4 cases per 100 
workers) in 2012. Nearly 4 in 5 injuries and illnesses reported in the public sector occurred among local 
government workers in 2012, resulting in an injury and illness rate of 6.1 cases per 100 full-time 
workers--significantly higher than the 4.4 cases per 100 full-time workers in state government. (See 
chart 3.)


State Estimates


Private industry and public sector estimates are available for 42 participating states and for the District 
of Columbia for 2012. (See chart 4.) Data for establishments in the eight states for which individual 
estimates are unavailable are collected by BLS regional offices and used solely for the tabulation of 
national estimates. State estimates will be available online on Friday, November 22, 2013; these 
estimates may also be requested prior to this from the respective state offices. (See 
www.bls.gov/iif/oshstate.htm for state contacts.)

As compared to a year earlier, private industry TRC injury and illness incidence rates among the 42 
states and the District of Columbia for which estimates are available in 2012 declined in 8 states and in 
the District of Columbia, rose in 1 state, and were statistically unchanged in 32 states (estimates for 
Ohio for 2011 were not available for comparison).

The private industry TRC injury and illness incidence rates were higher in 21 states than the national 
rate of 3.4 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2012, lower than the national rate in 15 states and in the 
District of Columbia, and not statistically different from the national rate in 6 states. Differences in 
industry mix account for at least some of the differences in rates across states. 


Publication Tables and Supplemental Charts


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has generated estimates of injuries and illnesses for many of the 
2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-digit industries as defined in the 2007 North American Industry Classification 
System (NAICS) manual. A complete listing of these estimates is not available in this release. However, 
summary tables 1 and 2--providing incidence rates and counts of injuries and illnesses by detailed 
NAICS industry, case type, and ownership (e.g., total recordable cases or cases with days away from 
work in private industry), respectively--may be accessed electronically for the current year and for prior 
years from www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm, requested from BLS staff at (202) 691-6170, or requested by 
email at IIFSTAFF@bls.gov. Supplemental tables and charts illustrating trends among incidence rates 
and counts are also available from these sources. Information in this release will be made available to
sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service (800)
877-8339.


Background of the Survey


Second in a series of three releases from the BLS covering occupational safety and health statistics for 
the 2012 calendar year, this release follows the August preliminary report on fatal work-related injuries 
from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). A third release in November 2013 will provide 
case circumstances and worker characteristics from the SOII for nonfatal injury and illness cases 
requiring at least one day away from work to recuperate. 

Additional background and methodological information regarding the BLS occupational safety and 
health statistics program, including information such as changes in the definition of recordable cases due 
to revised recordkeeping requirements in 2002 and the inherent underreporting of illnesses, can be found 
in Chapter 9 of the BLS Handbook of Methods at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch9.pdf. 
Employment data in this news release are 2012 annual averages provided by the BLS Quarterly Census 
of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program.


Completeness of SOII Estimates


Several studies by outside researchers conducted in the mid 2000s questioned the completeness of BLS 
injury and illness estimates from the SOII. In response to these studies, the BLS began researching the 
issue internally in 2007 and, at the request of Congress, established an ongoing research program to 
explore potential undercounting of workplace injuries and illnesses. An initial round of research 
conducted between 2009 and 2012 determined that the SOII failed to capture some cases but could not 
determine the magnitude or leading cause of an undercount. Findings suggested that the ability to match 
injury and illness data across different data sources is impacted by various factors, such as establishment 
type, the time of case filing, and the type of injury. Results of initial studies led BLS to initiate 
additional research that commenced in the fall of 2012. Projects are currently underway to explore 
employers’ recordkeeping practices, to match multiple years of SOII data to workers’ compensation 
records to analyze trends over time, and to investigate the feasibility of computer-assisted coding of the 
SOII narrative information to improve classification consistency. Results of on-going research projects 
will be available in 2014. Additional information about the completeness of SOII estimates can be found 
at www.bls.gov/iif/oshfaq1.htm#q02.


(Chart 1 appears here in the printed release.)

(Chart 2 appears here in the printed release.)

(Chart 3 appears here in the printed release.)

(Chart 4 appears here in the printed release.)

The PDF version of the news release

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Last Modified Date: November 07, 2013
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