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OSHA Releases Seven-Year Lookback on Workplace Accidents

By Randolph Sturdivant | Jan 30, 2024
SafetyQuiz

On Jan. 1, 2015, the federal office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration began requiring employers to report “all severe work-related injuries, defined as an amputation, in-patient hospitalization, or loss of an eye.”

On Jan. 1, 2015, the federal office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration began requiring employers to report “all severe work-related injuries, defined as an amputation, in-patient hospitalization, or loss of an eye.”

This information, compiled through 2021 and recently released by OSHA in a 17-page report. “Severe Injury Report: A Seven Year Look Back,” released in December 2023, offers a look into employee workplace safety across the nation’s various occupations.

The offering, however, does come with a few caveats. OSHA is clear in stating that while they did receive a “Total of 70,206 severe injury reports from employers under federal OSHA in all U.S. State, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories,” the reporting is incomplete. The report instead covers approximately half of the U.S. workforce partially due to the fact that “Private sector employees in State Plans and State and Municipal employees are excluded.”

Still, with this report, OSHA seeks to boost awareness and promote on-the-job safety, particularly in industrial work sites.

The reporting reveals the top three most danger filled industries were manufacturing (with 23,115 severe injuries from 2015-2021), construction (12,626) and transportation and warehousing (6,154).

The mining, quarrying and oil and gas exploration sector had the highest injury rate at 45.3 severe injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

The leading causes of severe injuries for the period were body parts caught in machinery and falls. The upper extremities (arms, hands and fingers) were more likely to be the site of injury than lower extremities. And perhaps unsurprisingly to anyone working within the construction industry, fingertips account for over a fourth of all upper extremity injuries.

While industries such as electric power generation, transmission and distribution and electrical equipment manufacturing are noted in the reporting, incidents involving electrocution/electric shock are not listed among the top causes of severe injury.

However, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and Survey of Occupational Injuries, the Electrical Safety Foundation—a nonprofit dedicated to promoting electrical safety at home and in the workplace—reported that 1,322 workplace fatalities involving electricity occurred between 2011 and 2022, with electricians (195 electrical fatalities, construction laborers (119) and nonconstruction laborers (117) experiencing the highest number of electrical fatalities. Top causes of these fatalities include working on or near energized wires or parts (48%) and contact with overhead power lines (41%). Removal of lockout/tagout devices (6%), an issue with PPE (3%) and arc flash/arc blast (1%) were also listed as causes.

About The Author

Randolph Terrance Sturdivant is an SPJ award-winning, Emmy-nominated, freelance writer and comedian living in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. He is a prolific writer with stories covering a range of emotion and subjects. Reach him at [email protected]

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