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Nonfatal occupational illnesses and injuries held steady in 2018, marking the first time since 2009 that they did not decline, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.
Private employers reported 900,380 occupational injuries or illnesses that caused a worker to miss a day of work in 2018, and 2.8 instances of occupational illnesses or injuries per 100 full-time equivalent workers in 2018, the same as 2017, according to the agency’s data, which is based on estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
All industries reported a reduction in total recordable cases of worker injuries and illnesses except for retail, which accounted for 14% of all injuries in private industry. Retail injuries and illnesses reported rose to 3.5 cases per 100 workers in 2018 from 3.3 cases per 100 workers in 2017, which was the retail trade industry’s first uptick in total recordable cases since the survey began in 2003.
Injuries and illnesses in retail most often resulted from sprains, strains and tears, which accounted for 36% of injures requiring days away from work in 2018. About 17% of retail injuries requiring a day off of work were attributed to back injuries.
In all the private-sector injuries and illnesses reported that required a day away from work, 37% required a visit to a medical facility. Of these, 295,000 required a trip to the emergency room and 39,000 required in-patient hospitalization. The median number of days away from work for all private-industry cases in 2018 was eight days.
The number of fatal work injuries in the United States dropped slightly last year, but fatal falls and drug overdoses in the workplace remain a serious concern, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.