An analysis of the costs of job related injuries and diseases based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data sets was performed, and 100 categories of occupation were ranked by average cost per employee. The BLS Supplementary Data System (SDS) was searched to retrieve information on all permanent total and partial disabilities and temporary total and partial disabilities resulting from occupational accidents reported to it in 1985 and 1986. The SDS utilized workers' compensation (WC) data from Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon. The data on disabilities were matched to information on costs, in 1986 dollars, computed from a NIOSH report on occupational injury and illness costs for injuries that occurred in six broad occupational categories (operators and laborers, precision production craft and repair occupations, service occupations, farming, forestry, and fishing occupations, technical sales, administrative support occupations, and managerial and professional occupations) and 413 specific occupations listed in the 1980 census. The six broad occupational categories and the 413 specific job categories were ranked by the total costs of the injuries. The six broad occupational groups and 223 of the specific job groups were also ranked by cost per individual worker (average annual cost). Among the broad occupational groups, total injury costs were greatest for operators and laborers and least for farming, forestry, and fishing occupations, 2,544 million and 209 million dollars. When ranked by average annual cost, operators and laborers also had the highest injury cost and managerial and professional occupations the least, 898 and 85 dollars. Among the specific occupations, heavy truck drivers contributed the most to the total injury costs over the 2 year period, 365,167,487 dollars. Timber cutting and logging occupations produced the highest annual average cost, 5,733 dollars. Other specific occupations that were responsible for high total injury costs included nonconstruction laborers, machine operators not specified, janitors, nursing orderlies, and construction laborers. Other specific occupations that contributed to high annual average costs were mechanics not specified, general and construction laborers, press apprentices, welders, and warehouse workers. The authors conclude that although the BLS data are limited, they can be used to provide at least a preliminary idea of which occupations are associated with the highest and smallest costs of occupational injuries and illnesses.
San Jose State University, Department of Economics, San Jose, CA 95192-0114