Work Related Injuries and Illnesses

Work related injuries and illnesses can happen in a wide range of industries and workplaces. These can happen over a huge number of activities and can be of many types. While construction is the industry in which OSHA receives the highest incidence of work related injuries and illnesses; transportation takes the number one position in terms of numbers of fatal work related injuries and illnesses.

Features of work related injuries and illnesses

Work related injuries and illnesses could range from a simple bruise or cut to those that severely debilitate the employee's ability to work. Some injuries may require short term recovery, while other may require long-term treatment and care.

The Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) records the total number of work related injuries and illnesses at workplaces in the US. According to the BLS, in 2014, there were 4679 cases of fatal work injuries recorded all over the US. This was a slight two percent increase over the number of work related injuries and illnesses in 2013. The BLS recorded a 3.3% preliminary rate of fatal work injuries for US workers in 2014, a figure that did not show any change from the figure of 2013.

Groups that recorded a higher level of work related injuries and illnesses

BLS data show that women were victims of a higher number of fatal work-related injuries and illnesses. Also, the number of fatal work related injuries and illnesses was higher among the non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks or African-American, and non-Hispanic Asian workers than in the previous year, while fatal injuries among Latino and Hispanic workers declined slightly in 2014 over 2013.

Non-work related injuries and illnesses

In addition to work related injuries and illnesses, there is another category of injuries. These are non-work related injuries and illnesses. These are injuries and illnesses that may take place either inside or outside of the workplace, but OSHA has a clear definition of what constitute non-work related injuries and illnesses. Some of these are:

  • When the employee sustained an injury at the workplace when she was there as a member of the regular public and not as an employee
  • Signs or symptoms occur at the workplace, but are from exposures and events that happen outside of the work environment
  • Injuries that may happen at the workplace as a result of voluntary participation in activities such as exercise, sports, blood donation, etc.
  • Consumption of food or beverages or alcoholic drinks at the volition of the employee, i.e., not bought and supplied by the employer. These and a few related ones do not count as work related injuries and illnesses, and these do not require reporting to the OSHA by the employer.