Posted November 7, 2019

BLS Report: Workplace injuries and illnesses hold steady 2018

2018 marks the first year since 2012 that the overall injury rate saw no decline. 

There were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These data are estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). The incidence rate for total recordable cases (TRC) in private industry also remained unchanged from a year ago. (See chart 1.)

This is the first year since 2012 that the TRC rate did not decline. The incidence rates for days away from work (DAFW) cases and for days of job transfer and restriction only (DJTR) cases did not change from 2017. (See chart 2.)

Other highlights from the 2018 data:

  • Retail trade was the only private industry sector where the TRC rate increased in 2018, rising from 3.3 cases to 3.5 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. (See table 1.) This was the first increase in the TRC rate in retail trade since the series began in 2003. Retail trade accounted for 14 percent of all injuries and illnesses in private industry in 2018. (See table 2.)
  • Within private industry, there were 900,380 injuries or illnesses that caused a worker to miss at least one day of work in 2018, essentially unchanged from 2017.
  • Results from the 2018 SOII contain the first national estimates for emergency room (ER) and hospital visits for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring DAFW. Estimates include case and demographic data elements such as industry, event, and occupation.
  • A total of 333,830 DAFW cases resulted in a visit to a medical facility such as an emergency room or in-patient hospital. Additional detail on these case types are available in the section on emergency room and hospital visits.

Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses data by industry and case type are available at and

Retail trade sector injury and illness cases

Both the number and rate of nonfatal cases in the private retail trade sector increased in 2018.The number increased 4 percent to 409,900 cases, and the incidence rate increased from 3.3 cases to 3.5 cases per 100 FTE workers. Within the retail trade sector, general merchandise stores reported 96,000 injury or illness cases; food and beverage stores reported 92,600 cases; motor vehicle and parts dealers reported 61,500 cases; and building material and garden supply stores reported 53,800 cases.

Of the 126,850 cases involving days away from work in retail trade in 2018, those resulting from falls, slips, or trips increased to 34,190 cases, an increase of 11 percent from 2017. Cases resulting from contact with objects and equipment increased 10 percent in 2018 to 38,940 cases. These events had a higher rate for workers in the retail trade sector than for workers in private industry in 2018.

Injuries and illnesses in retail trade most often resulted from sprains, strains, and tears, which accounted for 45,340, or 36 percent, of the DAFW cases in 2018. The DAFW incidence rate for sprains, strains, and tears was 38.4 cases per 10,000 FTE workers, essentially the same as in 2017. (See tables 3 and 4.) Seventeen percent, or 21,320,of DAFW cases reported in retail trade were the result of injuries to the back.

Within retail trade, 15 occupations had at least 1,000 DAFW cases in 2018. Injuries and illnesses to retail salespersons accounted for 20 percent of the DAFW cases in retail trade, increasing from 23,240 in 2017 to 25,600 in 2018. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers accounted for another 13 percent (15,940) of DAFW cases in retail trade in 2018, an increase of 25 percent from 2017. (See chart 5.)

Emergency room and hospital visits

This is the first year estimates for medical treatment facility visits for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring DAFW are available. Medical treatment facilities, based on definitions from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), include facilities designated as an emergency room or an in-patient hospital facility. Urgent care facilities, health units (within an establishment), infirmaries, and clinics are not considered an emergency room. The SOII categorizes medical treatment facility visits in the following way:

  1. Any medical treatment facility visit (emergency room visit and/or in-patient hospitalization)
  2. Emergency room visits only (excluding in-patient hospitalizations)
  3. All in-patient hospitalizations (with or without emergency room visits)

Of the 900,380 DAFW cases in private industry, 333,830 (37 percent) required a visit to a medical facility. Of these, 294,750 required a trip to the emergency room and did not require hospitalization, and 39,080 cases required in-patient hospitalization, either with or without an ER visit.

The median number of days away from work for all private industry cases in 2018 was 8 days. The median number of days away from work for ER visits only was 7 days and the median for in-patient hospitalization was 41 days.

For more information about these data, go to