CDC logoSafer Healthier People  CDC HomeCDC SearchCDC Health Topics A-Z
NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Traumatic Occupational Injuries

Each day, U.S. workers suffer injury, disability, and death from workplace incidents. On average, nearly 16 workers die each day from traumatic injuries. Overall, 5,734 workers died in 2005 from an occupational injury and more than 4 million workers had a nonfatal injury or illness. Private-sector workers, daily, experience 11,500 nonfatal work-related injuries/illnesses; more than half of these injuries/illnesses require job transfer, work restrictions, or time away from their jobs as a result. Among all workers, not just the private sector, 9,000 workers are treated in emergency departments each day, and approximately 200 of these workers are hospitalized. In 2004, this resulted in an estimated 3.4 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses among civilian workers that were serious enough to be treated in hospital emergency departments.

For more details, see Fatal Occupational Injuries and Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses or the Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational injury, illness, and fatality data (External Link:

Traumatic Occupational Injury Topics

Agricultural Safety
Child Agricultural Injury Prevention Initiative
Commercial Aviation
Commercial Fishing
Confined Spaces
Construction Safety
Electrical Safety
Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program
Highway Work Zones
Logging Safety
Machine Safety
Motor Vehicle
Occupational Violence


NIOSH Traumatic Injury Publications by Year:

NIOSH has produced numerous official numbered publications on traumatic injury topics, as well as publications that are more general but include information on injury. You may select from the links below to view lists of official NIOSH publications, many of which are linked to on-line versions.

NIOSH Journal Articles and Reports:

NIOSH researchers have written numerous journal articles and reports on traumatic injury topics. Additionally, NIOSH, through extramural funding mechanisms, has sponsored traumatic injury research that has been reported in the literature. All NIOSH authored or funded research articles and reports are collected in a bibliographic data system known as NIOSHTIC-2 which enables you to search the database for specific journal articles and reports.


Identifying problems in traumatic injury research, as in much of public health, is driven by surveillance. Surveillance is "the ongoing collection, analysis and interpretation of health data in the process of describing and monitoring a health [injury] event."* For occupational safety research, this refers to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data on injuries, hazards, and exposures for identifying potential risk factors for further research, and for prevention planning and intervention evaluation. (From Traumatic Occupational Injury Research Needs and Priorities: A Report by the NORA Traumatic Injury Team, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-134.)

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [1988] Guidelines for Evaluating Surveillance Systems. MMWR 37 (S-5):1-18. May 6, 1988.

Fatal Injury Data

The NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 Fatal Injury Charts

NIOSH National Traumatic Occupational Fatality (NTOF) Surveillance System
NTOF provides a nationwide surveillance system for occupational injury deaths. NTOF is based on death certificates as a sole source of case identification and has been estimated to include an average of 81 percent of all occupational injury deaths nationwide. NTOF data are currently available for the years 1980 through 1995. NTOF is the most comprehensive source of data on occupational injury fatalities prior to 1992.

Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities Web site
External Link:

BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI)
(External Link:
--a national census of occupational injury fatalities, including self-employed workers, agricultural workers, and government employees. CFOI, developed and maintained by BLS, uses multiple sources of information, e.g. death certificates, OSHA reports, workers' compensation data, police reports, and newspaper clippings. CFOI is a Federal/State cooperative program in which costs are shared. States provide data to BLS for inclusion in a national database and maintain their own State databases. Data are currently available for the years 1992-1998.

Nonfatal Injury Data

Work-RISQS: Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System
Work-RISQS is an interactive system for obtaining national estimates (number of cases) and rates (number of cases per hours worked) for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.

NIOSH collaborates with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (External Link: to capture nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments by using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). NEISS data are the basis of the Work-RISQS results.

The NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, 2004Nonfatal Injury Charts

BLS Annual Survey Data
External Link:

Other Links:

Tracking Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Hazards: The NIOSH Surveillance Strategic Plan


The Public Health Approach to traumatic occupational injury research

Traumatic occupational injury research at NIOSH is conducted within a public health framework. In the injury research strategy developed by the interdisciplinary NORA Traumatic Injury Team, the authors write:

Toward the goal of setting priorities, developing collaborative efforts, and developing new research methodologies, the many scientific disciplines will apply different models to occupational injury research (e.g., the public health model, the risk management model, the safety sciences model). All of these are variations of the scientific model—an objective, problem-solving process. For this paper, the public health model is used as a framework to discuss occupational injury research and prevention. The elements of this model include:

  1. Identify and prioritize problems (Injury Surveillance);
  2. Quantify and prioritize risk factors (Analytic Injury Research);
  3. Identify existing or develop new strategies to prevent occupational injuries (Prevention and Control);
  4. Implement the most effective injury control measures (Communication/Dissemination/ Technology Transfer); and
  5. Monitor the results of intervention efforts (Evaluation).

The process is an iterative one requiring continuous monitoring to ensure that strategies implemented actually reduce or eliminate the exposure or outcome as the intervention progresses and do not create unacceptable new risks. There are specific traumatic occupational injury research needs within each of these phases of the public health model.

(From Traumatic Occupational Injury Research Needs and Priorities: A Report by the NORA Traumatic Injury Team, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-134.)



NIOSH prevention information is most readily found in publications such as NIOSH Alerts, Current Intelligence Bulletins, Hazard Controls and Hazard IDs, Fact Sheets, Criteria Documents, and other publications. If you are looking for prevention information for a particular problem area, you may find the appropriate publications listed on NIOSH Traumatic Occupational Injury Topics. If a topic page on the problem area does not exist, another way to search for appropriate information is to scan the list of publications that address traumatic occupational injuries. Finally, the investigative reports conducted as part of the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program each have preventive recommendations based on the investigation of specific fatal incidents.

National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA-TI)

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS)

The National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS), which brings together occupational injury researchers and practitioners to present and discuss their findings, methods, and practices, is the only meeting of its kind conducted in the United States.

Related Links

American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)
External Link:

Center to Protect Workers' Rights (CPWR)
External Link:

Centers for Disease Control SafeUSA
External Link:

Safe at Work
External Link:

Liberty Mutual Research Center
External Link:

National Safety Council
External Link:

U.S. Department of Labor
External Link:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration
External Link:

Bureau of Labor Statistics
External Link:


Traumatic Occupational Injuries

Traumatic Occupational Injuries Logo

On This Page...
 Occupational Injury Topics
Related Links