The 2011 numbers are in: Bureau of Labor Statistics report on workplace injuries and illnesses

The 2011 numbers are in…and many of them don’t look much different from 2010.

Some highlights from the Bureau of Labor Statistics newly released 2011 report on non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses:

  • State and local government case rates remained unchanged from 2010, and are still well above private industry.
  • Private industry employers reported nearly 3 million workplace injuries and illnesses for an incidence rate of 3.5 per 100 workers, unchanged from 2010.
  • More than half of the cases reported were serious enough to result in days away from work, job transfer or restriction, for a DART rate of 1.8 per 100 workers, unchanged from 2010.
  • Healthcare showed a decline in case rates for hospitals and nursing/residential care, though both are still around double the national average.
  • Case rates remained highest among mid-size private industry establishments employing 50-249 workers.

Compared with the 2011 national average rate of 3.8 per 100 workers, the highest total case rates (illness and injury combined) came from:

  1. Fire protection (local government) – 13.5
  2. Nursing and residential care facilities (state government) – 13.1
  3. Steel foundries (except investment) (private industry) – 12.7
  4. Ice manufacturing (private industry) – 11.9
  5. Skiing facilities (private industry) – 11.5

Compared with the 2011 national average rate of 1.9 per 100 workers, the highest DART rates came from:

  1. Ice manufacturing (private industry) – 9.0 (way up from 4.4 in 2010)
  2. Fire protection (local government) – 8.6
  3. Steel foundries (except investment) (private industry) – 7.8
  4. Nursing and residential care (state government) – 7.4
  5. Nursing and residential care (local government) (private industry) – 7.1

The highest rates for illnesses (average 20.6 per 10,000 employees) were in:

  1. Light truck and utility vehicle manufacturing (private industry) – 306.1
  2. Animal (except poultry) slaughtering (private industry) – 273.3
  3. Automobile manufacturing (private manufacturing) – 233.6
  4. Copper foundries (except die-casting) (private industry) – 165.0
  5. Fire protection (local government) – 157.4

Keep in mind that “illnesses” also include musculoskeletal disorders (repetitive motion) such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

As always, these numbers come from an annual survey BLS sends to 85,000 to 100,000 establishments. Regardless of whether everyone reported accurately, these rates represent our best look at lagging indicators of safety success. So, yes, it’s good news that rates are mostly steady or down, but the economic losses are still running somewhere around $250 billion per year.

We will be digging through the numbers and providing more details on specific industry sectors in future posts.

UL gives workforce health and safety professionals more of the tools they need to proactively address risks, reduce costs and keep people safe, healthy and on the job.