Exposure to Harmful Substances
Exposure to harmful substances or environments
Detailed nonfatal data for 2021 are not currently available.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is transitioning from an annual to a biennial (every two years) publication schedule. The final publication of a single year of cases involving days away from work estimates is for reference year 2020. In the fall of 2023, BLS will publish detailed data covering 2021 and 2022 for both Days Away from Work (DAFW) and for Days of Job Transfer or Restriction (DJTR) cases.
Because of illness cases related to COVID-19 (coded as Other diseases due to viruses, not elsewhere classified [n.e.c.]), the leading cause of work-related injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in 2020 was exposure to harmful substances or environments. Exposure to harmful substances or environments was previously the sixth ranked cause. In 2020, exposure to harmful substances or environments resulted in 424,360 nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work. In 2021, 798 fatalities were reported. More than half of these deaths (464) involved nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol resulting in unintentional overdoses. Since 2011, fatal workplace overdoses have increased 536%.
Exposure to harmful substances or environments include:
- Exposure to electricity
- Exposure to radiation and noise
- Exposure to temperature extremes
- Exposure to air and water pressure change
- Exposure to other harmful substances
- Includes contagious and infectious diseases such as COVID-19
- Exposure to oxygen deficiency, n.e.c.
- Exposure to traumatic or stressful event, n.e.c.
This infographic provides an overview of the nonfatal trends involving days away from work, including nature of injury, part of body injured, and industry. Explore the data details tab for information on fatal injuries, injury rates, and historic trends.