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NORA Economics Sector Strategic Goals

927ZJNH - The Burden of Injuries and Illnesses in Manufacturing

Start Date: 4/1/2010
End Date: 9/30/2014

Principal Investigator (PI)
Phone: (513) 533-8627
Organization: NIOSH
Division: DART

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed

Attributed to Economics


Project Description


The Manufacturing sector is a significant contributor to the US economy, employing approximately 10 % of country's workforce and producing 12% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The recent downturn in domestic manufacturing and heightened global competition have raised concerns about the sector's future. An increasing share of manufacturing-especially high-tech manufacturing-formerly performed in the U.S. is being conducted overseas with potentially harmful consequences to the national economy. Several studies aiming to ascertain the state of U.S. manufacturing fail to identify the implications of changes in the sector to associated occupational health and hazard risks. In particular, very little is known about the status of workplace safety and any related economic consequences when considering the manufacturing sector by sub-sectors. Similarly, there exists a lack of comprehensive understanding on how changes in manufacturing affect workplace safety and health. This project will fill the gap. The project focuses on manufacturing sub-sectors comprised of 3-digit NAICS codes and will analyze injury/illness trends (both fatal and non fatal) by firm (establishment) size which will aid in understanding the injury and illness burden on both businesses and society. Identifying safety challenges and their corresponding costs, categorized by sub-sectors, will help public policy makers to prioritize safety and health investments and encourage manufacturers to seek solutions. A comprehensive understanding of the internal and external determinants to workplace safety is a prerequisite to promoting occupational safety and health through interventions, business networking, and targeted policies. This project is a step towards accomplishing the goals of the NORA Manufacturing Sector and will increase the awareness of stakeholders and policy makers on the composition and magnitude of the injury/illness burden in manufacturing sub-sectors.


The hypothesis of this study is that the number of occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses for the past five years in the manufacturing sector follow a proportionate downward trend while the direct and indirect costs associated with these occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses have risen disproportionately. Understanding the contributing factors behind these trends might assist in understanding future trends. Another goal of this project is to examine how expenditures not spent on addressing fewer occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses will affect the national output and employment if returned to the economy.


The study will result in journal submissions, inter-agency (with BLS) white papers, and industry wide information dissemination of the results. This is expected to provide valuable decision making inputs to manufacturers and policy makers.