Exposure to Harmful Substances

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

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 is exposure to harmful substances or environments. Exposure to harmful substances or environments was previously the 6th ranked cause. In 2020, exposure to harmful substances or environments resulted in 424,360 nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, and 672 fatalities. More than half of these deaths (388) involved nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol resulting in unintentional overdoses. Since 2011, fatal workplace overdoses have increased 431%.

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.

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See data details