Manufacturing Program: Description

wman with 3 men in a manufacture plant

Program Description

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has a robust program that is responsive to the occupational safety and health problems that burden today’s and tomorrow’s workers in manufacturing. In 2018, approximately 15.5 million U.S. workers were employed in 21 manufacturing sub-sectors, including food, beverages, tobacco, textiles, petroleum, chemicals, metals, machinery, computers, transportation equipment, and furniture manufacturing. The largest sub-sectors were transportation equipment manufacturing, fabricated metal products manufacturing, and food manufacturing.

Table 1
NAICS NAICS Subsector Title Establishments within NAICS Group Number of Workers1
311 Food manufacturing Animal food and grain milling; sugar and confectionery products; fruit and vegetable preserving, dairy products; animal slaughter; bakeries; and seafood manufacturing 1,825,000
312 Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing Beverage and tobacco manufacturing 318,000
313 Textile Mills Fiber, yarn, thread, and fabric mills 117,000
314 Textile product mills Carpet, rug, curtain, linen, textile bag and canvas mills 158,000
315 Apparel Manufacturing Apparel knitting mills; cut and sew apparel manufacturing, and apparel accessories 226,000
316 Leather and allied product manufacturing Footwear, leather tanning and finishing manufacturing 51,000
321 Wood products manufacturing Sawmills and wood preservation; veneer, plywood and engineered wood products; and prefabricated wood buildings and mobile homes 449,000
322 Paper manufacturing and printing Pulp, paper and paperboard mills; paperboard container, paper bag, stationary and other paper product manufacturing 382,000
323 Printing and related support activities Commercial screen, book and other commercial printing 492,00
324 Petroleum and coal products manufacturing Petroleum refining and other miscellaneous petroleum and coal products 193,000
325 Chemicals manufacturing Resin, synthetic rubber and fibers, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medicine, paint, coating, adhesive, soap, cleaning compounds, cosmetics, and industrial chemical manufacturing 1,426,000
327 Nonmetallic mineral products manufacturing Pottery, clay, glass, cement, concrete and lime manufacturing 475,000
331 Primary metal manufacturing Iron, steel, aluminum production and processing; and foundries 516,000
332 Fabricated metal products manufacturing Cutlery and hand tool; architectural and structural metals; hardware; spring and wire; screw, nut and bolt  manufacturing 1,247,000
333 Machinery manufacturing Manufacture of equipment used in agriculture, construction, mining, oil and gas, and service industries; engine, turbine, and power transmission manufacturing 1,218,000
334 Computers and electronic products manufacturing Computer and peripheral equipment, communications, audio and video, navigational, and electronic component manufacturing 1,096,000
335 Electrical equipment and appliances manufacturing Household appliance, electric lighting, and electrical equipment manufacturing 402,000
336 Transportation equipment manufacturing Motor vehicles, aircraft, aerospace products, railroad rolling stock, ship, and boat manufacturing 2,528,000
337 Furniture and related product manufacturing Furniture 421,000
339 Miscellaneous manufacturing Medical equipment and supplies; sporting and athletic goods; and doll, toy and game manufacturing 1,563,000

Several challenges in occupational safety and health in the manufacturing industry still require attention.  Three hundred and eighteen manufacturing sector workers died from work-related injuries in 2016. Over half of deaths among manufacturing workers were caused by contact with objects and equipment or transportation incidents.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 449,800 recordable injury or illness cases in manufacturing industries in 2016 with more than half of these requiring days away from work, job transfer or restriction4. The leading causes of days away from work cases were contact with objects (44,090); overexertion and bodily reaction (42,370); and falls, slips, trips (22,040).3 Within Manufacturing, the industries with the highest injuries and illnesses in 2015 were food manufacturing (72,600), transportation equipment manufacturing (72,100), and fabricated metal product manufacturing (63,200).4


NIOSH uses several surveillance systems available (internal and external) to inform and guide efforts to improve worker safety and health research and interventions and to monitor trends and progress over time. It pulls together information from stakeholders that contributes to the generation of new knowledge and development of tools and solutions for difficult-to-solve problems. Our stakeholder are also engaged in the dissemination and implementation of the new products.

  1. BLS [2019]. Table 18. Employed persons by detailed industry, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 2018. In: Current Population Survey, 2018. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, iconexternal icon
  2. BLS [2017]. Table A-1. Fatal occupational injuries by industry and event or exposure, all United States, 2016. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, icon
  3. BLS [2016]. Table R4. Number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by industry and selected events or exposures leading to injury or illness, private industry, 2016. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, icon
  4. BLS [2016]. TABLE 2. Numbers of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by industry and case types, 2016. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, icon


Page last reviewed: November 22, 2019