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Inputs: Occupational Safety and Health Risks

More than 65 million workers were employed in the 11 NAICS service industries. Occupations within these industries account for 50.5% of U.S. workers, 29% of workplace fatalities and 23% of nonfatal injuries, according to 2004 BLS data. The two leading causes of fatal injuries in most service industries, according to BLS, are transportation incidents and violence. Otherwise, the types of hazards across industries in the NIOSH Services sector vary substantially. Workers in real estate, rental, and leasing and in administrative and waste management have the highest risks from falls. The latter group is joined with "Other Services" in having the greatest risks from contact with objects. Musculoskeletal disorders occur in many service industries including janitorial, room cleaning, waste collection, and spectator sports. Clerical staff in financial, legal, insurance, and publishing have experienced elevated rates for musculoskeletal disorders as well.

BLS publishes detailed information about occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities for all industry sectors. Links to many BLS data sources and reports appear below.


In 2004, the greatest number of fatalities among workers in the Services sector were employed in landscape maintenance (169), public safety (143), national security (69), restaurants (67), automotive repair (51), investigation and security services (47), waste collection (40), fire protection (37), drinking establishments (33), elementary and secondary schools (32), and religious organizations (32). These subsectors account for more than 40% of the 1,636 total deaths in the NORA Services sector. Similar fatality risks were noted in the 2003 BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) data.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2004

Table 1. Occupational fatalities and leading causes among the NORA Services Sector Workers

Fatal occupational injuries by private industry or public entity * and selected event or exposure, 2004
Services sector Fatalities Percentage of Total Sub-Sector Fatalities†
Number Percentage of Total § Transportation Violence Falls Contact with Object
Information 54 1 48 9 6 -
Finance and Insurance 46 1 33 39 9 -
Real Estate, Rental and Leasing 69 1 20 26 16 6
Professional, Scientific and Technical 76 1 30 4 11 -
Management of Corporations and Entities 2 - ** - - - -
Administrative and Waste Management 370 6 22 7 18 13
Education 44 1 11 9 11 -
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation 99 2 11 11 11 6
Accommodations and Food Services 146 3 14 52 8 3
Other Services 204 4 10 19 11 14
Public Administration 526 9 31 13 7 5

* Based on the North American Industry Classification System, 2002.
† The figure shown is the percentage of the total fatalities for that industry group.
§ The figure shown is the percentage of total occupational fatalities.
** Less than or equal to 0.5 percent.

Source: Fatal occupational injuries by industry and selected event or exposure, 2004

Additional BLS occupational fatality information can be found in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

Nonfatal Injuries and Illnesses

BLS uses industry surveys to estimate injuries and illnesses among U.S. workers. Illness categories are limited and are likely to underestimate chronic conditions associated with occupational exposures. More serious injury and illness cases result in days away from work for the worker. Within the NORA Services sector, the highest rates for days away from work cases were observed in leisure and hospitality and in "other services." In general, the injury and illness rates for 2003 were slightly higher than the rates for 2004.

Days-away-from-Work Cases

In 2004, BLS reported that the overall average rate of injuries and illnesses among the Service Sector workers that resulted in days away from work was 1.3 cases per 100 employees versus 1.4 in 2003. Within the NORA Services sector, the risk for lost workday injuries are greater than 2 times the overall Service Sector average for workers in Solid Waste Collection (3.6), Spectator Sports (2.8), Landscape Maintenance (2.6), and Consumer Electronics and Appliance Rental (2.6). Amputations that result in lostworkdays are essentially 50 times the average rate for BLS service workers in Commercial and Industrial Machine Repair and Maintenance (20.3 per 10,000 workers versus the average of 0.4). However, the number of reported cases is fewer than 50. Carpal tunnel injuries that resulted in days away from work averaged 1.6 per 10,000 workers across the BLS Service Sectors. The highest rates within the NORA Services sector were observed in Credit Card Issuing Businesses (4.4), Legal Services (4.0), Janitorial Services (3.9), Other Insurance Activities (3.8), and Newspaper Publishers (3.4). Multiple traumatic injuries with days away from work were greatest for Truck, Trailer, and RV Rental Businesses (18.4 per 10,000 workers), Landscape Maintenance (17.6), Heavy Equipment Rental and Leasing (15.2), Waste Remediation (14.8), and Real Estate Property Management (13.0). In comparison, the average multiple traumatic injury rate with days away from work for the BLS Services sector is 5.1 per 10,000 workers. Total Injury and Illness Cases

Of the 14 private sector industries that reported 100,000 or more cases of nonfatal injuries or illnesses in 2004, two of these were in the accommodation and food Services sector: full service restaurants with 113,300 cases and limited-service eating places with 104,200 cases. Waste management and remediation services (NAICS 562) experienced injuries and illnesses at a rate higher than that of the sector as a whole, with 7.6 cases per 100 fulltime workers. The rate of total recordable cases in leisure and hospitality declined in 2004 to 4.7 cases per 100 full-time workers, down from 5.1 cases in 2003. This change was driven by a decline in the rate for accommodation and food services, which fell from 5.0 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2003 to 4.5 cases in 2004, while the rate for arts, entertainment, and recreation remained unchanged in 2004 at 5.9 cases per 100 workers

Source: BLS Workplace Injury and Illness Summary
(Please note that the NORA Services sector contains only a portion of the NAICS codes that are combined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics under the name of Services sector.)

Detailed data on nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the Services sector can be found in the following table:

Number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by industry and selected events or exposures leading to injury or illness, 2004

Additional BLS data on Case and Demographic Characteristics for Work-related Injuries and Illnesses Involving Days Away From Work

NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 2004-146
The Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 is a descriptive epidemiologic reference on occupational morbidity and mortality in the United States . A resource for agencies, organizations, employers, researchers, workers, and others who need to know about occupational injuries and illnesses, the Chartbook includes more than 400 figures and tables describing the magnitude, distribution, and trends of the Nation's occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

NOTE: Data presented in this document are based on the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), which does not correspond directly to the 2002 NAICS. Convert 1987 SIC codes to 2002 NAICS codes using Correspondence Tables: 1987 SIC Matched to 2002 NAICS

NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluations Program
A Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) is the study of a workplace to see whether workers are exposed to hazardous materials or harmful conditions. An HHE is done in response to concerns of workers, their representatives, or employers about specific workplace problems. The NIOSH HHE program evaluates new or unusual hazards. Workers who ask for the HHE can have their names kept confidential by NIOSH.