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Inputs: Occupational Safety and Health Risks

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Injury, Illness, and Fatality Program
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes detailed information about occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities from private industry. Results of the 2004 survey revealed 1,259,320 nonfatal cases involving days away from work (141.3 cases per 10,000 workers), down from 2003 in which 1,315,920 total cases (150.0 per 10,000 workers) were reported. These cases included MSDs. The U.S. Department of Labor defines an MSD as an injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. MSDs do not include disorders caused by slips, trips, falls, motor vehicle accidents, or similar accidents.

BLS publishes detailed characteristics for MSD cases that resulted in at least one lost day from work. For example, the number of MSD cases and incidence rates are reported by sex, age, occupation, industry, and several other characteristics. Data for 2004 appear in the table.

The BLS data in the table below reveals that, since 2002, the number and incidence rates of MSD cases declined.

Number and incidence rates1 of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses with days away from work2 involving musculoskeletal disorders3, 2004.
MSD Cases with days away from work
YearTotal CasesIncidence RateMedian DaysRelative Standard Error

(1) Incidence rates represent the number of injuries and illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers and were calculated as:
(N / EH) X 20,000,000 where,

N = number of injuries and illnesses
EH = total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year
20,000,000 = base for 10,000 full-time equivalent workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year)

(2) Days away from work cases include those that result in days away from work with or without job transfer or restriction.

(3) Includes cases where the nature of injury is sprains, strains, tears; back pain, hurt back; soreness, pain, hurt, except back; CTS; hernia; or musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases and disorders and when the event or exposure leading to the injury or illness is bodily reaction/bending, climbing, crawling, reaching, twisting; overexertion; or repetition. Cases of Raynaud's phenomenon, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and herniated spinal discs are not included. Although these cases may be considered MSD's, the survey classifies these cases in categories that also include non-MSD cases.

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.

For information about converting 1987 SIC codes to 2002 NAICS codes

NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 search results for figures and tables related to:


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  • Page last reviewed: December 18, 2012
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