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Newly Released Data Shows Nonfatal Occupational Injuries Declined in 2020

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On November 3rd, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their initial report summarizing the 2020 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses data. The number of nonfatal work injuries reported by private industry employers saw a slight decrease, to 2.7 million, down from the 2.8 million nonfatal injuries in 2019, which is a decrease of 5.7 percent.

Some of the key findings from the latest BLS report include:

  • The rate of injury cases also decreased in 2020, with private industry employers reporting a rate of 2.2 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers compared to 2.6 cases in 2019.
  • There were 1,176,340 nonfatal injuries and illnesses that caused a private industry worker to miss at least one day of work in 2020, 32.4 percent higher than in 2019.
  • Total injury and illness cases decreased or remained the same in all private industry sectors, except for health care and social assistance, which increased 40.1 percent in 2020.
total reported nonfatal injury in private industry

Digging into the data reveals some industries that had increased nonfatal days away from work (DAFW). Ten occupations accounted for 38.3 percent of all private industry cases involving days away from work in 2020. Some of these occupations include:

  • Nursing assistants with a 249.7% increase
  • Registered nurses with a 290.8% increase

However, some occupations have had decreasing amounts of DAFW as a result of a nonfatal injury or illness. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had 43,500 DAFW cases in 2020, a decrease of 4,490 cases (9.4 percent).

One thing to note is that while the number of employers reporting nonfatal injuries dropped from 2.7 million in 2019 to 2.1 million in 2020, the number of illnesses skyrocketed, driven by a 3800% increase in reported respiratory illness cases.

Seeing a drop in the overall numbers and rates of nonfatal incidents highlights the importance of safety training. From knowing how to recognize recordable vs. reportable incidents in your workplace to understanding how to manage incidents can help make all employees aware of the correct steps to take to minimize workplace injuries and illnesses.

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