Musculoskeletal Injuries

Detailed nonfatal data over 2021-2022

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has transitioned 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 was for reference year 2020. BLS now publishes detailed data covering 2021 and 2022 for Days Away from Work (DAFW), Days of Job Transfer or Restriction (DJTR), and Days Away from Work, Job Restriction, or Transfer (DART) cases.

The private sector experienced 976,090 musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) DART cases, including 502,380 DAFW cases in 2021-2022. MSDs are a grouping of related injuries sometimes referred to as “ergonomic injuries.” MSDs generally occur when the worker uses muscles, tendons, and ligaments to perform tasks in awkward positions or in frequent activities that, over time, create pain and injury. MSDs are defined by BLS as the combination of certain natures of injury or illness and events or exposures.

To be considered a MSD, the nature of the injury or illness must be one of the following:

  • pinched nerve;
  • herniated disc;
  • meniscus tear;
  • sprains, strains, tears;
  • hernia (traumatic and nontraumatic);
  • pain, swelling, and numbness;
  • carpal or tarsal tunnel syndrome;
  • Raynaud’s syndrome or phenomenon;
  • or musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases and disorders.

In addition, one of the following events or exposures must lead to the injury or illness:

  • overexertion and bodily reaction, unspecified;
  • overexertion involving outside sources;
  • repetitive motion involving microtasks;
  • other and multiple exertions or bodily reactions;
  • or rubbed, abraded, or jarred by vibration.

This infographic provides an overview of the nonfatal trends. The data on nonfatal cases cover occupational injuries and illnesses and come from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) for 2011-2022. From 2011 through 2020, annual estimates are available for the number of DAFW cases (with or without days of restricted work activity). Starting in 2021, biennial estimates are available for DAFW, DJTR, and DART cases. This page highlights both DAFW and DART estimates. The latest estimate period available reflects cases occurring in 2021 and 2022. Because DAFW data transitioned from annual reporting to biennial reporting in 2021, care should be used when comparing trends. Explore the data details tab for additional information on demographics, industry, occupation, days lost, and historic trends.

See data details