For the first time since 2012, the national injury rate for U.S. workplaces did not decline in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017. In both years the total recordable injury case rate (TRC) per 100 full-time workers was 2.8 cases.

The incidence rates for days away from work (DAFW) cases and for days of job transfer and restriction only (DJTR) cases did not change from 2017 – remaining at 0.9 cases per 100 full-time workers. 

Retail injuries increase

Retail trade was the only private industry sector where the TRC rate increased in 2018, rising from 3.3 cases to 3.5 cases. This was the first increase in the TRC rate in retail trade since the series began in 2003.

There were 900,380 serious injuries or illnesses that caused a worker to miss at least one day of work in 2018, essentially unchanged from 2017.

The BLS report contains the first national estimates for emergency room (ER) and hospital visits for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring DAFW. A total of 333,830 DAFW cases resulted in a visit to a medical facility such as an emergency room or in-patient hospital.

The median number of days away from work for private industry cases in 2018 was 8 days. The median number of days away from work for ER visits only was 7 days and the median for in-patient hospitalization was 41 days.

Major industry TRCs in 2018: farming, forestry, fishing (5.3), transportation and warehousing (4.5), retail trade (3.5), manufacturing (3.4) and construction (3.0).

Specific industry TRCs in 2018: hospitals (5.6), primary metal manufacturing (4.6), food manufacturing (4.2), fabricated metal manufacturing (4.1), transportation equipment manufacturing (3.9), machinery manufacturing (3.2), chemical manufacturing (1.9), oil and gas well drilling (1.5).

Overexertion accounted for 28.2% of injuries in 2018, followed by contact with objects and equipment (23.5%), falls, slips and trips (23.9%), transportation incidents (5.0%), and violence (4.4%).