Work-related Incidence Rate Trends

Total recordable incidence rate unchanged for third consecutive year even as the number of injuries and illnesses increase!

Tracking TRIR, DART, DAFW, are valuable to safety and health professionals. However, a complete understanding of an organization’s safety and health organization requires the use of a broader set of metrics beyond the benchmarking data available through the BLS and OSHA. It is worth noting that the BLS data presented in Injury Facts are lagging safety and health metrics (including TRIR, DART, DAFW) and are best viewed as more generic indicators, more of a moment in time and are not necessarily indicative of future performance and can potentially be over-interpreted as reflections of organizational performance, intent, and direction. In short, they are the “rearview mirror” of safety, and should be reviewed in conjunction with leading indicators of performance as well as examinations of serious injury and illness risk and potential. For a deeper information on interpreting data on leading indicators, please consult Practical Guide on Leading Indicators from the Campbell Institute.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2022, up 7.5% from 2021. This increase was a result of increasing injuries as well as illnesses. Nonfatal injuries increased 4.5%, totaling 2.3 million cases in 2022. Nonfatal illnesses increased 26.1%, totaling 460.7 thousand in 2022. The large increase in illnesses was driven by a 35.4% increase in respiratory illnesses. Respiratory illnesses peaked in 2020 at 428.7 thousand, dropped to 260.6 thousand in 2021, and now have rebounded to 365.0 thousand in 2022. Prior to 2020, respiratory illnesses totaled less than 15 thousand a year. This increase in respiratory illnesses is a result of COVID-19 related cases (categorized by BLS as other diseases due to viruses, not elsewhere classified). These estimates are from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII).

BLS published the count and rate of injuries and illnesses annually for the following measures:

Four of the five private sector occupational injury and illness incidence rates published by BLS for 2022 were unchanged from 2021. The TRI case rate was unchanged at 2.7 per 100 full-time equivalent workers; cases with DART rate was stable at 1.7; the DJTR case rate was stable at 0.6; and the other recordable cases rate was unchanged at 1.0. Only the DAFW rate increased from 1.1 per 100 full-time equivalent workers in 2021 to 1.2 in 2022.

In 2022, the rate of injury cases in the private sector was 2.3 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers, unchanged from 2021. In contrast, the illness rate increased 19.9% in 2022. The illness rate in 2022 was 45.2 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers compared to 37.7 cases in 2021.

There have been several changes that affect comparability of incidence rates from year to year. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system beginning with the 2003 SOII. Revisions to OSHA’s occupational injury and illness recordkeeping requirements went into effect in 2002. Beginning with 1992, BLS revised its annual survey to include only nonfatal cases and stopped publishing the incidence rate of lost workdays.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Note: Beginning in 1992, all rates are for nonfatal cases only. Changes in OSHA recordkeeping requirements in 2002 affect comparison with earlier years.