Work-related Incidence Rate Trends

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

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).

Four of the five private sector occupational injury and illness incidence rates published by BLS for 2022 were unchanged from 2021. The total recordable case rate was unchanged at 2.7 per 100 full-time equivalent workers; cases with days away from work, job transfer, or restriction (DART) rate was stable at 1.7; the cases with job transfer or restriction rate was stable at 0.6; and the other recordable cases rate was unchanged at 1.0. Only the cases with days away from work 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.