Work Injuries and Illnesses by Part of Body

The National Safety Council (NSC) analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data finds that the back was the body part most frequently affected by injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in 2018. Back-related injuries and illnesses accounted for nearly 16% of the total 900,380 injuries and illnesses in private industry. Hand injuries were the second most common, followed by leg injuries. Across all lost time due to injuries and illnesses, the median number of days lost per incident was eight.

Median days lost by select body parts:

  • Head: 3
  • Back:  7
  • Foot: 8
  • Ankle: 9
  • Wrist: 15
  • Shoulder: 27

The nonfatal data covers occupational injuries and illnesses in the private sector and comes from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for 2018. Historic data is also available by hovering over data points to see trends from 2011 through 2018. The estimates are the number of cases involving days away from work (with or without days of restricted work activity). This data does not cover the self-employed or unpaid family workers. These estimates also exclude federal, state, and local government employees.

Data is presented for the sex, age, occupation, and industry of the worker; and for the nature of the injury or illness, the source of the injury or illness, and the event or exposure that produced the injury or illness. For a more accurate comparison of injury and illness frequency, adjust the category “level of detail” filter to compare categories of similar scope.

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