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hazard signs, worker avoiding falling box

Input: Occupational Safety and Health Risks

On average, approximately 85 workers die each week in the United States from injuries sustained at work.1 Daily, an estimated 11,200 private-sector workers have a nonfatal work-related injury or illness, and more than half will require job transfer, work restrictions, or time away from their jobs as a result.2 Approximately 9,000 workers are treated in emergency departments each day, and approximately 200 of these workers are hospitalized.3 According to the Liberty Mutual 2011 Workplace Safety Index, workers’ compensation insurance costs for workers hurt on the job in 2009 amounted to 50.1 billion.4 The annual Workplace Safety Index tracks the causes of serious, non-fatal workplace injuries that cause workers to miss 6 or more days from work. The estimates are derived by combining information from Liberty Mutual Insurance, the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Academy of Social Insurance. These direct, insured costs of workplace injury include indemnity (wage) payments to injured workers and payments for their medical care


The number of fatal occupational injuries (4,551) in 2009 was lower than the annual average for 2004 –2008 (5,642).1 Ninety-three percent (4,216) of the fatalities were incurred by men.1 The leading fatal injury event continued to be transportation-related incidents (39% or 1,795), of which 55% (985) were highway-related events.1 By industry sector, construction accounted for the most fatal injuries (19% or 879).1

Nonfatal Injuries

For 2009, the BLS estimated 3.9 million injuries among workers in all industries including private industry and State and local government agencies with a rate of 3.7 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. Of these, 3.1 million injuries occurred in private industry at a rate of 3.4 per 100 FTE and 804,600 injuries occurred among State and local government workers at a rate of 5.4 per 100 FTE. Of the private industry injuries, 75% occurred in service providing industries and 25% occurred in goods producing industries. The four NORA private sector industries that had the largest number of nonfatal injuries were services (27%), wholesale and retail trade (21%), health care and social assistance (20%), and manufacturing (15%). Of the injuries that occurred among State and local government workers, 98% occurred in service providing industries (education/health services and public administration) and 2% occurred in goods producing industries. The BLS data are based on a survey of employers that excludes an estimated 14% of US workers, including the self-employed, private household workers, farms with fewer than 11 employees, and Federal government employees.

NIOSH Worker Health eChartbook
The eChartbook is a descriptive epidemiologic reference on occupational morbidity and mortality in the United States. A web-based resource for agencies, organizations, employers, researchers, workers, and others who need to know about occupational injuries and illnesses, the eChartbook includes more than 8,000 figures and tables describing the magnitude, distribution, and trends of the Nation's occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. National census of fatal occupational injuries in 2009 . Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor; 2010.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace injuries and illnesses in 2009 [PDF - 230 KB] . Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor; 2010.
  3. Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses—United States, 2004 .
    MMWR 2007; 56:393–7.
  4. Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. 2011 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index .