Study Reveals the Leading Occupational Injury in Texas Industry

April 1, 2003

According to the 2001 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, conducted in cooperation with the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission (TWCC), strains and sprains were the leading nature of lost-time injuries in every major industry division in Texas. Many of these strains and sprains were to the back, which was the body part most affected by work incidents in most industries.

The BLS Annual Survey also examines the events leading to injuries and illnesses. The event attributing to the highest number of lost time occupational injuries and illnesses was overexertion followed by contact with objects and equipment.

Regarding occupation groups, truck drivers had the highest number of lost-time injuries and illnesses, followed by construction laborers.

Besides identifying high-risk situations by the number of incidents, the survey also focuses on injuries and illnesses resulting in the longest absences from work. The study of median days away from work is a key measure of the severity of injuries and illnesses. In 2001, the median number of lost workdays for all cases in Texas decreased to nine days from 10 days in 2000.

Mining industries experienced the most severe injuries and illnesses – with a median of 30 days away from work. The mining industry also had the highest percentage (38 percent) of injuries and illnesses resulting in 31 days or more away from work. The industry with the second highest number of median days away from work was nondurable goods manufacturing.

Aside from measuring median days away from work by industry, the survey also identifies median days by nature of injury, body part, and event. The most severe natures of injury were carpal tunnel syndrome (39 median days), fractures (28 days), and amputations (28 days). The most severely affected body parts were the knee (18 days), and neck (15 days). The leading event, with a median of 23 lost workdays, was repetitive motion, followed by assaults and violent acts (21 days).

The occupation experiencing the highest number of median days away from work was cashiers (36 days) followed by industrial truck and tractor equipment operators (32 days).

In addition to the information presented above, the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey provides extensive data on the characteristics and demographics of worker injuries and illnesses resulting in lost workdays for calendar year 2001. This data is available on the TWCC Web site under “Services & Resources” or by calling 512-804-4663.

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