New data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Nov. 8 showed that 45,800 fewer worker illnesses and injuries were reported in 2017 compared to the previous year. Despite this reduction, a staggering 2.8 million workers ended up getting hurt or falling ill last year — a rate that equates to 2.8 per every 100 full-time employees.
The four industries with the highest number of injury or illness cases in 2017 were storage and warehouses, social services, administrative support and hospitals. Workers in each of these industries lost as much as 15,000 days of work because they were hurt or sick in 2017. The number of cases affecting warehouse workers increased between 2016 and 2017. The numbers in the other three industries were down from the previous year.
Of the more than two million cases of occupational illnesses and injuries reported in 2017, one-third of them resulted in employees missing days of work. This number equates to 89.4 per 10,000 full-time workers.
The median number of days a private sector employee missed when they were forced to take off work for illness or injury was eight days. This remains relatively unchanged from the previous year.
Workers in the finance, insurance and manufacturing sectors each saw a 0.1 percent decline in the number of illnesses and injuries affecting them in 2017.
The workers who missed time from work in 2017 because of lowering or lifting injuries or some other type of overexertion injury increased from 3,250 in 2016 to 97,990 the following year. This equates to some 9.9 cases per 10,000 full-time employees.
The number of workers who had equipment fall on them or who were struck by objects increased from 4,180 in 2016 all the way to 136,510 one year later. This equates to 13.8 cases per 10,000.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gives employers a set amount of time to report injuries, illnesses and deaths that occur in their workplace. They can be assessed fines for failing to do so. Although these regulations exist, few incidents get reported. Unfortunately, many employers attempt to brush them under the rug.
An injured or ill worker suffers when this occurs because they don’t get the compensation that they’re entitled to for their injuries and lost work. A workers’ compensation attorney can advise you and work to protect your rights.