Report: 3 Million Work Injuries in 2015, With Nurses, First Responders at High Risk

The newest report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals there were nearly 3 million work injuries reported nationally last year. The number of injuries varied vastly by industry. emergency

Interestingly, workers employed by state-run nursing homes were more likely to be injured on the job than those who toiled in manufacturing or construction, which underscores the difficulty of caring for the ill and elderly. Agriculture and local police also were at high risk of work-related injuries.

Across the private sector, the BLS announced there were 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2015, which amounts to three injuries for every 100 full-time employees. This is significant, although it does encouragingly follow a pattern of steady decline that has been ongoing for the last 13 years. There were overall 48,000 fewer injuries and illnesses last year as compared to 2014. The industries that reported declines included:

  • Quarrying/mining/oil and gas extraction;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Warehousing and transportation;
  • Finance and insurance;
  • Health care and social assistance; and
  • Accommodation and food services.

Wholesale trade was the only industry that saw an uptick in work injuries. Nonetheless, there are areas of continued concern for those in certain fields, and many private industry workers who were injured needed remedies such as days off work, job transfer, or job restrictions.

Those workers most likely to suffer injuries and illnesses due to conditions on the job were health care workers, especially those at nursing homes. One out of every eight nursing home workers was hurt on the job last year. That’s 12.1 injuries per 100 full-time workers. For both hospital workers and construction employees, the rate was 12 injuries per 100 workers.

Although the data isn’t finalized, we do know that many of these injuries and illnesses include instances of violence, overexertion, or falls.

By comparison, private sector nursing home workers tend to fare better, with injury rates of 6.8 per 100 full-time workers.

Another finding from the report was that local government employees on the whole had positions that were 70 percent more likely to result in a job-related injury than those employed in the private sector. Local government employees suffered injuries at rates of 5.1/100 last year, as compared to 3.7/100 for state workers and 3/100  for workers overall. In fact, when those local government workers are added to the BLS figures, the overall rate of work-related injury in the country spikes to 3.3/100.

Part of the reason for high rates of injuries suffered by local government workers is that they employ so many who are on the front lines with the public in potentially perilous circumstances:  police, firefighters, EMS, nurses, and teachers. First responders are the most likely to suffer injuries. Local police suffered injuries and illnesses due to work at a rate of 11.3 per 100 workers.

Another industry with high rates of work-related injuries is aquaculture. Unfamiliar to most, it’s a type of private sector agriculture work that includes fish farming. Injuries to these workers occurred last year at a rate of 13.6 per 100 full-time employees.

Again, these are only the work-related incidents and accidents that resulted in injuries rather than deaths. A report on fatal workplace injuries is expected to be released by the BLS later this month.

Contact the Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

The Jobs Where Workers Are Most Frequently Hurt, Oct. 27, 2016, By Jeffrey Sparshott, Wall Street Journal

More Blog Entries:

Worker Misclassification Still Problematic in North Carolina, Nov. 21, 2016, Spartanburg Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

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