Spotlight on Statistics

June 2009

Worker Safety and Health – Spotlight on Statistics

Audio Script

June is National Safety Month. In recognition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is spotlighting data on work-related fatalities and nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses.

The BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries has produced comprehensive counts and rates of fatal work injuries since 1992. The census shows that the rate of fatal work injuries trended downward between 1992 and 2007; much of the decline occurred during the first 10 years of the period. The rate in 2007 was the lowest rate on record.

Transportation incidents are the most common type of event leading to worker fatalities; they accounted for 42 percent of fatal work injuries in 2007. Highway incidents alone, part of the transportation incidents category, accounted for nearly one-fourth of all work-related fatalities in the United States.

But the vast majority of workplace injuries and illnesses do not result in fatalities. Four million cases of nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported in private industry in 2007. This resulted in a rate of 4.2 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers.

About 3 out of 10 of the injury and illness cases required a day or more away from work. A key measure of the severity of these cases is the number of days a worker requires away from work to recuperate from their injuries and illnesses. In 2007, workers whose cases required a day or more away from work needed a median of 7 days to recuperate – and a quarter of these cases required 31 or more days away.

For more facts on worker safety and health, visit www.bls.gov/spotlight/2009/safety_and_health/.

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