The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) yesterday (November 9) released data on nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses that occurred in the U.S. in 2016, as reported by employers in private industry. The data indicate that the rate of 2.9 reportable cases per 100 full-time equivalent employees was down slightly from the 3.0 reportable cases in 2015 and follows a general downward trend in workplace injury. I took a quick look at some of the prepared tables for information on specific injury events, and here’s what the data had to say (in partial form) about injuries due to fire, explosion, and exposure to electricity:
There were 720 private sector workplace injuries due to fire in 2016. Half of these injuries (360 injuries) were experienced by workers in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, while a quarter (180 injuries) were experienced by workers in production occupations. The other leading occupational groups injured in fires were service occupations (50 injuries) and construction occupations (30 injuries).
Explosions were responsible for 680 private sector workplace injuries in 2016. The leading occupational groups accounting for these injuries included transportation and material moving occupations (240 injuries), installation, maintenance, and repair occupations (160 injuries), sales and related occupations (110 injuries), production occupations (100 injuries), and service occupations (40 injuries).
Workers exposed to electricity accounted for 1,640 workplace injuries in 2016, with 900 injuries due to direct exposure to injury and 520 injuries due to indirect exposure to electricity (such as injuries due to contact with electricity through a wet surface).The largest shares of electrical injuries were experienced by installation, maintenance, and repair occupations (430 injuries), construction and extraction occupations (420 injuries), service occupations (280 injuries), production occupations (90 injuries), and sales and related occupations (80 injuries). Other occupational groups experiencing injury through exposure to electricity included management, business, and financial occupations (30 injuries), office and administrative support occupations (30 injuries), farming fishing and forestry occupations (30 injuries), computer, engineering, and science occupations (20 injuries), and healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (20 injuries).
While nonfatal injuries resulting from exposure to electricity in 2016 were at a historic low dating to 1992 (although pre-2011 injuries were coded as “contact with electric current”), nonfatal injuries due to explosion were up slightly from 2015 (670 injuries), and injuries resulting from fires in 2016 were substantially higher than 2015, when there were 600 such injuries. It’s important to remember, of course, that year-to-year fluctuations do not represent trends.
BLS will be releasing data on fatal workplace injuries in December. I plan to take a more detailed look at electrical injuries in the coming months. Those interested in taking a look at the recent BLS release can find it here: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/osh.nr0.htm