2012 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII)
Last month, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics published their summary of workplace injuries and illnesses reported by employers in 2012. Their documentation is a result of the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) that they conducted to examine the events of the previous year. Through their findings, they were able to report that (other than 2011) there has been a steady decline in reported workplace injuries and illnesses through the last decade, and 2012 continued the pattern of declines.
Although 2011 did not continue the significant rate decline for injuries and illnesses that we’ve seen over the last ten years, it was found that the Total Recordable Cases (TRC) rate of injury/illness incidents was lower in 2012 than the previous year. The rate for other recordable cases that didn’t require employees to take time off from work was also lower in 2012. The Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) rate, which includes more serious cases that cause employees to take days away from work, to be restricted from working, or to be transferred to another job, was unchanged in 2012. There wasn’t a single private industry sector that experienced a higher rate of injuries and illnesses.
In most private industry sectors, the rate of cases involving days away from work had decreased, but the cases involving job transfer or work restriction only were unchanged. The only private industry sector in which the rate of transfer or restriction only exceeded the rate of cases involving days away from work was manufacturing. This has been the case for the last 15 years. Even though the two types of cases have differing rates, these rates have been coming closer together in recent years, and in 2012 were only off by 0.2 case.
In 2012, private industry workers had a reported rate of injuries only of 3.2 cases for every 100 full-time employees. This figure is a step down from the 3.3 cases per 100 full-time employees in 2011. The number of illness cases from 2011 to 2012 was unchanged. Another statistic that did not change from 2011 to 2012 was the rate of injuries and illnesses reported from state and local government workers, which was 5.6 cases for every 100 full-time employees. Individually, state and local government workers reported 4.4 cases and 6.1 cases per 100 full-time employees as their rates of injuries and illnesses, which is significantly higher than the private industry sector no matter which way you slice it.
Injuries and Illnesses in Private Industry
The SOII compiled data from nearly 3 million injury and illness cases that reportedly occurred in private industry. More than half of these cases were DART cases. There were 1.8 DART cases reported for every 100 full-time workers, a rate that has not changed since 2009. The other 1.4 million injury and illness cases that weren’t filed under the DART classification occurred at a rate of 1.6 cases per 100 full-time employees, which was lower than the 1.7 cases per 100 full-time employees in 2011.
In 2012, the TRC injury and illness rate was highest in mid-size private industry businesses (companies that employed 50-249 people), and lowest in small businesses (companies that employed fewer than 11 people).
94% of the injuries and illnesses (2.8 million incidents) that were assessed in the SOII were injuries. 2.1 million of these injuries occurred in industries that provide services. Service providers employ 82.4% of the entire private industry workforce. Industries that provide goods were the site of incident for the remaining 0.7 million injuries reported. 17.6% of the private industry workforce is employed in goods-producing industries.
Of the nearly 3 million injury and illness cases reported in 2012, 5.2% of those cases were for illnesses developed in the workplace. 17.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers was the rate of illnesses in 2012, which is only 0.5 case less than the incident rate in 2011. In 2012, 34.3% of all workplace illness cases originated in the goods-producing industries, which is a rate of 28.6 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. This rate is less than the 31 cases/10,000 workers in 2011.
The manufacturing industry sector topped another chart in the report, accounting for 29.5% of all illness cases in private industries. That is an incident rate of 38.6 cases per 10,000 full-time employees, but it’s still a decrease from the rate of 40.8 cases/10,000 employees in 2011. 65.6% of private industry illness cases occurred in service-providing industries, which is a rate of 14.5 cases for every 10,000 full-time employees, which is the same as it was the year before. Health care and social assistance companies accounted for 23.4% of all illness cases in private industries, which is a rate of 28.2 cases for every 10,000 full-time employees. This rate is less than that of 2011, which was 30.5 cases for every 10,000 full-time employees.