The Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, issued a news release on December 4, 2009, with national statistics for “non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2008”.
The Bureau reported 113 workers out of every 10,000 missed an average of 8 days due to workplace injuries or illnesses in 2008. The total amount of private sector workers injured at work was approximately 1.1 million for the year.
Occupations that experienced the highest number of absent days in descending order were:
Laborers and freight, stock and material movers with 79,590 cases (440 workers out of every 100,000 within the same occupation). Contact with an object or equipment accounted for 35 percent of the incidents and overexertion was responsible for 30 percent of injuries.
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers with 57,700 cases (362 employees out of every 100,000 within the same occupation). Overexertion accounted for 21 percent of the incidents and contact with an object or equipment was responsible for 21 percent of injuries.
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants with 44,610 cases (362 workers out of every 100,000 within the same occupation). Overexertion accounted for 48 percent of the incidents and falls on the same level were responsible for 16 percent of injuries.
Construction laborers with 31,310 cases (383 employees out of every 100,000 within the same occupation). Contact with an object or equipment accounted for 40 percent of the incidents and overexertion was responsible for 19 percent of injuries.
Retail salespersons with 28,900 cases (90 workers out of every 100,000 within the same occupation). Contact with an object or equipment accounted for 27 percent of the incidents and overexertion was responsible for 26 percent of injuries.
There were 416,620 cases of sprain or strain injuries in 2008, which represented 39 percent of all workplace accidents requiring time away from work. Back sprains or strains occurred in 40 percent of the incidents, knee strains or sprains were sustained in 12 percent, 11 percent were sprains or strains to the shoulder, ankle sprains or strains happened in 8 percent and the remaining 28 percent of sprains and strains were to other parts of the body. The largest cause of sprains and strains was overexertion.
Musculoskeletal injuries to the back, shoulders, arms, wrists and knees were experienced in 317,400 cases. Occupations with the highest number of musculoskeletal injuries in descending order were: transportation and material moving; production; healthcare support; construction and extraction; and installation, maintenance and repairs.
Sources of injury or illness included chemicals and chemical products, containers, furniture and fixtures, machinery, parts and materials, floors, walkways, ground surfaces, tools, instruments, equipment, vehicles, worker motion or position and healthcare patients.
In addition to overexertion and contact with an object or equipment, other causes of injury were falls on same levels or to lower levels, slips, repetitive motion, harmful substances, transportation accidents, highway accidents, fires, explosions and assault by other persons or animals.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, it is important you contact a personal injury attorney experienced in workplace accidents as soon as possible to discuss your options and ensure you receive proper compensation for injuries.