A total of 1.4 million injuries and illnesses in private industry required recuperation away from work beyond the day of the incident in 2002, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Truck drivers and nursing aides, orderlies and attendants suffered the most lost-time cases. Of the 112,200 injured truck drivers, 93 percent were men. Half of their injuries were sprains or strains, often to the trunk or lower extremities, stemming from overexertion, contacts with objects or equipment, or falls.

In contrast, 91 percent of the 79,000 injured nursing aides and related workers were women. They predominantly suffered sprains and strains to their trunk (typically their back) due to overexertion related to lifting or moving patients.

In goods-producing industries such as construction and manufacturing, which make up about 20 percent of private industry employment but account for one-third of injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, contact with objects and equipment — such as being struck by an object — was the most prevalent event.

This is in contrast to service-producing industries, which make up 80 percent of private industry employment and account for two-thirds of the most severe injuries and illnesses. In these industries, overexertion — especially overexertion by lifting — was the most prevalent event.

In addition to the 1.4 million cases requiring at least one day away from work, more than one million cases of injuries and illnesses required only job transfer or restricted work activity.

Sprains and strains, most often involving the back, accounted for 43 percent of injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work in 2002. When sprains and strains, bruises and contusions, cuts and lacerations, and fractures are combined, they accounted for nearly two-thirds of the cases with days away from work.

Injuries and illnesses to workers aged 20 to 44 accounted for 64 percent of all injured workers, about the same as their share of hours worked in 2002, 62 percent. Although workers aged 65 and over accounted for only a small portion (1.7 percent) of total injuries and illnesses, 61 percent of these cases occurred in the services and retail trade industries.

Employees with one to five years of service with their employer accounted for 37 percent of all injuries and illnesses sustained, while workers with more experience (more than five years of service) made up 29 percent of total cases in 2002.

Floors, walkways, and ground surfaces; worker motion or position; containers; and parts and materials accounted for 57 percent of reported cases in private industry and were the leading sources of injury and illness in 2002.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) — an injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage and spinal discs — accounted for 487,900, or 34 percent, of the injuries and illnesses with days away from work.

The services industry reported the most musculoskeletal disorders, accounting for 29 percent of all cases of this type.

The manufacturing industry reported 21 percent of all MSD cases.

Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants had the highest number of musculoskeletal disorders (44,400) in 2002, followed by truck drivers with 36,800 MSD cases.

Among major disabling injuries and illnesses, median days away from work were highest for carpal tunnel syndrome (30 days), fractures (29 days), and amputations (26 days).

Among the most frequent events or exposures, repetitive motion, such as grasping tools, scanning groceries and typing, resulted in the longest absences from work — a median of 23 days. Falls to lower level resulted in the next longest absences from work with a median of 14 days.