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workers, building, architect

NORA Manufacturing 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)
Name: Tapas Ray
Phone: 513-533-8627
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: DART
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goals Addressed
3.0, 8.0, 9.0

Attributed to Manufacturing


Project Description

Short Summary

This project will study the pattern of occupational injuries and illnesses in the manufacturing sector and its 21 subsectors as identified by NAICS.

The study will analyze the contribution of various socio-economic factors behind the injuries and illnesses and will measure the economic burden of these injuries and illnesses (Economics, Goals 1.3 and 1.4). Finally, based on a better understanding of the various macroeconomic factors, a projected injury incidence will be obtained for the immediate future years (2014-2019). This study will help in understanding the current and future economic impacts of injuries and illnesses predominant in the manufacturing sector and will cover several of the NORA manufacturing sector goals.

The study will result in journal submissions, inter-agency (with BLS) white papers and industry wide information disclosures. The outputs will provide valuable decision making inputs to policy makers and manufacturers in the U.S.


The overarching 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 escalated disproportionately.

Understanding the contributing factors behind this downward trend might assist in understanding the future trends. Another focus of this analysis will be to examine how a certain percentage of the expenditures spent on these occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses will affect the national output and employment in the different NORA sectors if put back to the economy.

Major project activities including an estimated timeframe for completing each major activity. Examples may include partnership development, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, development of communications materials etc. This as a four part study as described. In the first part the trend and economic burden of fatalities, injuries and illnesses in manufacturing businesses for the past five years (2003-2008) will be estimated using data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, and the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), on medical costs, indemnity costs and numbers of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Other costs related to productivity losses, administrative costs and costs to the families of injured workers will be estimated following Rice et al. (1989a), Max et al. (1995), Miller and Galbraith (1995), and Leigh et al. (2003). In the second part, socio-economic variables like worker age, unemployment, workers compensation premiums, firm size, OSHA regulations; and industry structural parameters like the relative wage index, and corporate tax will be identified and their marginal contributions, if any, to the above mentioned trend will be estimated. In the third part the past trend will be used to forecast the future incidence of fatalities, injuries and illnesses and associated costs with an econometric model, based on various socio-economic, demographic, industry and sub-sector structural characteristics previously identified. These projections will be presented by the twenty one sub sectors. The fourth part will project the future impact of the potential injuries and illnesses on the affected subsectors and national income and output by using a suitable input-output model following Zaloshnja et al. (2006). The input matrix will include incidence rates of fatalities, injuries and illnesses in the different sub-sectors, and their associated costs (broken down into medical costs, indemnity costs, productivity losses, and other societal costs). The output matrix will illustrate how fatality, injury and illness rates affect the economy�s employment, taxes, and national income. Sensitivity analyses will be done to observe changes in impact due to changes in the rates of fatality, injury and illness. All four parts of the study will provide subsector specific outcomes by sex and age.

Following are the aims of the study: Specific Aim 1: To study the five year trend of the number of occupational nonfatal injuries and illnesses, and fatal injuries in the U.S. manufacturing sector; Specific Aim 2: To estimate the economic burden (sum of the different direct costs and indirect costs) of these nonfatal injuries and illnesses, and fatal injuries for the past five years in the U.S. manufacturing sector; Specific Aim 3: To identify, if any, external macroeconomic, demographic, psychosocial factors and industry structural parameters that may contribute to the past five year sub-sector specific trend of injury and illness; Specific Aim 4: To forecast the number of occupational nonfatal injuries and illnesses, and fatal injuries in the U.S. manufacturing sub-sectors for the immediate future years; Specific Aim 5: To project the future impact of occupational nonfatal injuries and illnesses, and fatal injuries in the U.S. manufacturing sub-sectors, that is how these injuries and illnesses will affect the national economic output and employment.

Mission Relevance

The Manufacturing sector is a significant part of the US economy, employing approximately 10 % of country�s workforce and producing 12% of the total Gross Domestic product (GDP). The recent shrinkage in U.S. manufacturing and the heightened global competition that it faces have raised concerns about its competitive edge. There is a concern that an increasing share of manufacturing�especially high-tech manufacturing�formerly performed in the United States is being done overseas with potentially harmful consequences to the U.S. economy. Out of these concerns came out a number of studies (mostly federally funded) judging the state of U.S. manufacturing. However, these studies fail to highlight the implications of these changes on the sector�s occupational health and hazard risks. Very little is known about the status of workplace safety and their economic consequences in the manufacturing sector by sub-sectors. Similarly, there is a lack of comprehensive understanding of the implications of the changes in manufacturing on workplace safety and health. This project will fill the gap. The project primarily focuses on the NORA Manufacturing sub-sectors comprised of 3 digit NAICS codes and will analyze injury/illness, both fatal and non fatal, trends by firm (establishment) size which will help in understanding injury and illness details and their burden on businesses and to the society. In particular the Manufacturing sector, one of the largest NORA sectors, selected this project to be developed in full, recognizing its importance for the sector during the programmatic review of applications responding to the intramural request for FY10 NORA proposals.

The structural cost disadvantages faced by US manufacturers have led to their recent decline in performance. Identifying safety challenges and their corresponding costs, categorized by subsectors, will help public policy makers (including NIOSH) prioritize safety investments and encourage manufacturers to seek solutions. A comprehensive understanding of the determinants (internal and external to workplace) of safety in the general-equilibrium framework is a prerequisite to promote occupational safety and health through interventions, business networking, and regulations. This project is a step towards accomplishing the goals of the NORA Manufacturing sector and will increase the awareness of stakeholders and policy makers of the composition and magnitude of injury illness burden in manufacturing subsectors.

This study although primarily housed in the Economics Cross Sector (ECN), will address goals of several other NORA crosssectors, including musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) (Goal 3.4; Goal 4.2), work-related stress (Goal 1.4), and traumatic injuries (Goal 3.2.5). The results of this study will help businesses, policy makers, and insurers recognize the most prevalent injuries, illnesses and fatalities and the associated costs by the subsectors. This will help researchers and policy makers in identifying the external factors (socio-economic and structural) that affect injury illness incidences. Also by forecasting injuries and illnesses the study will help policymakers in understanding the future areas of concern. Identifying the nature of injuries that are associated with higher monetary losses will prove useful to employers, employees, and insurers.