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Inputs: Occupational Safety and Health Risks

An estimated 13,455,000 workers in manufacturing industries are at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. Occupations within the Manufacturing sector account for 5% of U.S. workers, and 8% of workplace fatalities.

The BLS publishes detailed information about occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities for all industry sectors.


In 2004, the manufacturing industries recorded 459 fatal work injuries, the fourth highest total among industry sectors. The number of fatal work injuries in the Manufacturing sector rose 9% percent from 420 in 2003 to 459 in 2004. The number of workers who were fatally injured after being struck by objects rose 12% percent across all sectors in 2004 (from 531 in 2003 to 596 in 2004), led by increases in the number of workers who were fatally injured after contact with falling, rolling, or sliding objects. A disproportionate number of these fatalities occurred in the Manufacturing sector with several manufacturing industry groups having a very substantial percentage of these fatalities.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2004

Fatal occupational injuries * by private industry† and selected event or exposure, 2004

ManufacturingFatalitiesSelected event or exposure §
NumberPercent **Highway ‡HomicidesFallsStruck by object
All Manufacturing Industry Groups45981731014
Food Manufacturing651221211-
Wood Products Manufacturing4918-814
Paper Manufacturing19§§----
Chemical Manufacturing31113---
Plastic and Rubber Products Manufacturing25§§---12
Nonmetallic Mineral Products Manufacturing54135-99
Primary Metal Manufacturing28§§--1432
Fabricated Metal Products Manufacturing5711451125
Machinery Manufacturing25§§24-1228
Transportation Equipment Manufacturing33112-1521

* Totals include data for industries not shown separately.
† Based on the North American Industry Classification System, 2002.
§ The figure shown is the percent of the total fatalities for that industry group.
** The figure shown is the percent of total occupational fatalities.
‡ "Highway" includes deaths to vehicle occupants resulting from traffic incidents that occur on the public roadway, shoulder or surrounding area. It excludes incidents occurring entirely off the roadway, such as in parking lots and on farms, incidents involving trains, and deaths to pedestrians or other nonpassengers.
§§ Less than or equal to 0.5%.
Source: Fatal occupational injuries by industry and selected event or exposure, 2004

Additional BLS occupational fatality information can be found in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

Nonfatal injuries and illnesses

A total of 4.3 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported in U.S. private industry workplaces in 2004, with an injury and illness rate of 4.8 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers. The manufacturing industries had 836,700 injuries, representing nearly 20% of the private industry total. Manufacturing had an injury and illness a rate of 6.6 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, down from 6.8 a year earlier. The 2004 rate, however, was the second highest of the eight NIOSH sectors. The Manufacturing sector accounted for 42%of all newly reported cases of occupational illnesses. The transportation equipment manufacturing group (NAICS 336) with 151,500 cases, the food manufacturing group (NAICS 311) with 122,300 cases, and the fabricated metal product manufacturing group (NAICS 332) with 119,900 cases, accounted for 42% of all cases reported in manufacturing, but accounted for only one-third of manufacturing employment in 2004. The injury and illness rate for each of these industry groups is significantly higher than that for the Manufacturing sector as a whole.

Source: BLS Workplace Injury and Illness Summary

Incidence rates* of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by selected industries and case types, 2004

Industry Group†NAICS Code §2004 Annual Average Employment ** (thousands)Incident Rate *Total Recordable Cases (thousands)
All Manufacturing Industry Groups31-3314,257.46.6941.9
Food Manufacturing3111490.48.2122.3
Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing312193.78.716.6
Textile Mills313237.84.09.4
Textile Product Mills314176.25.49.5
Apparel Manufacturing315284.73.58.8
Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing31642.56.92.8
Wood Products Manufacturing321548.010.054.8
Paper Manufacturing322493.34.925.3
Printing and Related Support Activities323658.54.528.2
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing324112.32.53.1
Chemical Manufacturing325881.83.531.1
Plastic and Rubber Products Manufacturing326803.77.762.6
Nonmetallic Mineral Products Manufacturing327498.58.040.4
Primary Metal Manufacturing331466.010.049.0
Fabricated Metal Products Manufacturing3321488.78.0119.9
Machinery Manufacturing3331136.86.777.7
Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing3341314.92.330.5
Electrical Equipment, Appliance, & Component Manufacturing335443.85.524.1
Transportation Equipment Manufacturing3361763.48.5151.5
Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing337568.58.346.0
Miscellaneous Manufacturing339653.64.528.4
  1. The incidence rates represent the number of injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers and were calculated as: (N/EH) x 200,000, where
    • N = number of injuries and illnesses
    • EH = total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year
    • 200,000 = base for 100 equivalent full-time workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year)
  2. Totals include data for industries not shown separately.
  3. North American Industry Classification System -- United States , 2002
  4. Employment is expressed as an annual average and is derived primarily from the BLS-Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program.

NOTE: Because of rounding, components may not add to totals. Dash indicates data not available.


Incident rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by selected industries and case types, 2004

Numbers of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by selected industries and case types, 2004

Detailed data on nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the Manufacturing sector can be found in the following table:

Number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by industry and selected events or exposures leading to injury or illness, 2004

Additional BLS data on Case and Demographic Characteristics for Work-related Injuries and Illnesses Involving Days Away From Work

NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, 2004
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 2004-146
The Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 is a descriptive epidemiologic reference on occupational morbidity and mortality in the United States. A resource for agencies, organizations, employers, researchers, workers, and others who need to know about occupational injuries and illnesses, the Chartbook includes more than 400 figures and tables describing the magnitude, distribution, and trends of the Nation's occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

NOTE: Data presented in this document are based on the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), which does not correspond directly with the 2002 NAICS. Convert 1987 SIC codes to 2002 NAICS codes using Correspondence Tables: 1987 SIC Matched to 2002 NAICS

NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheet:
Manufacturing: DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-154
Agriculture, Forestry, and FishingDHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-151 (September 2006)
Includes the number, rate, and costs of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. agriculture industry by selected characteristics, 1992–2002.

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