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June 1999, Vol. 122, No. 6

The changing composition of lost-workday injuries

John W. Ruser

Occupational injury and illness rates have changed notably in recent years. The overall rate has declined every year since 1992, from 8.9 cases per 100 workers in that year to 7.1 in 1997. The latter rate is the lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting this information in the early 1970s. Further, the composition of workplace injuries and illnesses has changed dramatically in the past decade. Cases with lost work time are now less likely to involve days away from work and more likely to involve only restricted work activity. Even when injured or ill workers do take time off work to recuperate, they are now more likely to return to work sooner, but unable to perform all job duties. Restricted work activity due to workplace injury or illness is a growing phenomenon in the U.S. workplace, indicative both of a possible decrease in the severity of reported cases and of a trend toward the faster return to work of affected workers. To varying extents, the latter trend appears in all industrial sectors, in different-sized establishments, and for all kinds of injuries and illnesses. This article presents evidence of this important compositional change in occupational injuries and illnesses.

This excerpt is from an article published in the June 1999 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.

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Related BLS programs
Safety and Health Statistics

Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Occupational injury and illness rates, 1992-96: why they fell.Nov. 1998.

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