CPI Business Solutions Article

The Most Common Workplace Injuries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, each year there are over 1 million work-related injury and illness cases resulting in days away from work.

That’s one occupational injury or illness out of every 100 full-time workers annually. The number might not seem high, but given the median number of work days lost per case is nine, the effects are quite large.

Interestingly, most workplace injuries (almost 60% in 2016) are the result of common, everyday missteps — such as overexertion and falls, slips, and trips — not violent events, vehicle crashes, or exposure to harmful substances. This likely explains why the injury incidence rate of nursing assistants, for example, is very close to that of movers and construction workers.

With this in mind, the business security firm CPI Security wanted to help business owners understand which specific injuries were most common in the workplace. Using data from the BLS, CPI analyzed incidence rates, total injuries, median number of work days lost, and other factors across over 1.1 million injury cases nationwide in 2016. For each type of injury, data was used to determine an approximation for how many total work days are lost annually due to that injury (across all employees nationwide), as well as the most common event leading to that injury. The list below shows the most common workplace injuries in the U.S. With a better understanding for the injuries employees are susceptible to, business owners are better equipped to create and monitor more secure work environments.



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8. Heat (thermal) burns

Incidence rate: 4 per 10,000 full-time workers
Total number of cases: 15,670 per year
Median days away from work: 6
Total work days lost due to injury: 94,020 per year
Most common event causing the injury: Exposure to harmful substances or environments




Photo Credit: Viacheslav Iakobchuk / Alamy Stock Photo

7. Puncture wounds, except gunshot wounds

Incidence rate: 6 per 10,000 full-time workers
Total number of cases: 17,680 per year
Median days away from work: 3
Total work days lost due to injury: 53,040 per year
Most common event causing the injury: Contact with object, equipment




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6. Concussions

Incidence rate: 7 per 10,000 full-time workers
Total number of cases: 18,680 per year
Median days away from work: 7
Total work days lost due to injury: 130,760 per year
Most common event causing the injury: Contact with object, equipment




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5. Lacerations

Incidence rate: 8 per 10,000 full-time workers
Total number of cases: 86,640 per year
Median days away from work: 3
Total work days lost due to injury: 259,920 per year
Most common event causing the injury: Contact with object, equipment




Photo Credit: Robert Marmion / Alamy Stock Photo

4. Fractures

Incidence rate: 5 per 10,000 full-time workers
Total number of cases: 95,060 per year
Median days away from work: 32
Total work days lost due to injury: 3,041,920 per year
Most common event causing the injury: Falls, slips, trips




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3. Contusions

Incidence rate: 8 per 10,000 full-time workers
Total number of cases: 97,960 per year
Median days away from work: 4
Total work days lost due to injury: 391,840 per year
Most common event causing the injury: Contact with object, equipment




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2. Nonspecified injuries & disorders (usually soreness & swelling)

Incidence rate: 3 per 10,000 full-time workers
Total number of cases: 226,620 per year
Median days away from work: 7
Total work days lost due to injury: 1,586,340 per year
Most common event causing the injury: Overexertion and bodily reaction




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1. Sprains, strains, tears

Incidence rate: 3 per 10,000 full-time workers
Total number of cases: 406,200 per year
Median days away from work: 10
Total work days lost due to injury: 4,062,000 per year
Most common event causing the injury: Overexertion and bodily reaction

 


 

Methodology

Data used in this analysis is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). The SOII includes data on non-fatal injuries and illnesses for each calendar year from a sample of employers. Data for the self-employed, small farms (10 or fewer people), private household workers, volunteers, and federal government workers are not included in the survey. The specific dataset used in this analysis is the Nonfatal cases involving days away from work: selected characteristics (2016). Cases were grouped by the nature of injury (the list items below). The 10 natures with the highest incidence rates are included below with their corresponding total number of cases and median days away from work. The most common event causing the injury for each nature was determined based on total cases. Total work days lost due to the injury was calculated by multiplying the total number of cases for each nature in 2016 by its median days away from work. This calculation is to be used as a rough, directional indicator of how impactful injuries of each nature are on workforce participation.