Health & Safety Stats - Leveraging Data To Build Safer Workplaces In 2024

This report features key information points that can aid organizations in understanding trends around workplace health and safety. It also covers how companies can use EHS data to develop more informed response plans and training programs...

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February 16, 2024
8 mins

Leveraging Data to Build Safer Workplaces in 2024: Key Workplace Health and Safety Statistics 

Addressing workplace safety is not just done for regulatory compliance. It’s a measure that can help organizations drive higher productivity, lessen downtime, and obtain long-term benefits, such as maintaining a competitive edge, attracting top talent, and building a positive reputation in their respective industries. 

To gain insights that can help establish and improve workplace health and safety, organizations should analyze EHS data. By assessing EHS information, companies can manage risks more effectively, proactively prevent accidents, improve accountability, comply with regulations, and enhance overall operational efficiency. 

This report features key information points that can aid organizations in understanding trends around workplace health and safety. It also covers how companies can use EHS data to develop more informed response plans and training programs, mitigate risks, and, ultimately, prevent fatalities in the workplace.  

Nonfatal Workplace Incidents Statistics

  • Private industry employers in the US reported 2.8 million cases of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2022. 
  • This shows a 7.5% increase in workplace injuries and illnesses reported by employers compared to data in 2021. 
  • Workplace injuries that are nonfatal grew by 4.5% in 2022 (2.3 million cases), while illnesses increased by 26.1%.
  • Worldwide, there were nearly 400 million workers who suffered from nonfatal work injuries in 2019. 

Analysis of Nonfatal Incidents

  • This may also be the main driver of the increase in workplace illnesses in 2022, which reached 460,700 reported cases.
  • It’s worth noting that in 2021, fewer cases of respiratory illnesses were reported compared to 2020—260 case counts vs. 428,000 cases in 2020.
  • In 2021 and 2022, 2.3 nonfatal work injury cases per 100 workers were reported.
  • There was a 19.9% increase in workplace illnesses in 2022. 
  • 2021: 37.7 cases per 10,000 workers
  • 2022: average of 45.2 cases per 10,000 workers 

From 2021 to 2022, the following causes were associated with the most DART cases:

  • Overexertion and bodily reaction – 1,001,440 DART cases
  • Contact with objects and equipment – 780,690 DART cases

Key Statistics on Fatal Incidents 

  • 5,486 fatal work injuries were recorded in the US in 2022. This figure reflects a considerable 5.7% increase from the 5,190 cases that were reported in 2021. Moreover, the increase correlated with an increase in fatal work injury rates:
  • 3.6 fatalities in every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers (FTE) in 2021
  • 3.7 fatalities in every 100,000 FTE in 2022

Analysis of Fatal Incidents

This increase in fatal incidents stems from several causes:

  • An 11.6% increase from those caused by violence and by other persons or animals (from 761 in 2021 to 849 in 2022).
  • A 13.1% increase in unintentional overdoses (464 cases in 2021 and 525 fatalities reported in 2022).
  • Transportation incidents were reported as the most frequent type of fatal event, making up 37.7% of all reported occupational fatalities. 
  • 2021 – 1,982 cases
  • 2022 – 2,066 (an increase of 4.2%)

This constant increase in fatal incidents underscores the importance of more robust injury prevention measures at work. 

Preventable Deaths Statistics

  • Data from the ILO shows that nearly three million workers die every year due to work-related accidents and diseases. This is in spite of the beneficial shifts in workplace safety. 

A Brief Analysis of Preventable Deaths 

Most work-related fatalities (2.6 million) are due to work-related diseases, with the top three causes being:

  • Circulatory diseases (32.36%)
  • Malignant neoplasms (27.50%)
  • Chronic respiratory diseases (14.25%)

Common risk factors that influence these fatalities may include:

  • Long working hours 
  • Unprotected exposure to occupational risks and hazards, such as hazardous substances and biological hazards
  • Occupational injuries
  • Socio-demographic shifts, such as the growing number of the global labor force
  • Improvements in diagnostic tools, which contribute to the growing number of work-related injuries and deaths that are detected

Work-related deaths also saw unequal distribution between males and females:

  • Male mortality rates tend to be significantly higher compared to female mortality rates, averaging 108.3 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of 48.4% per 100,000 for females. 

The bottom line is that despite positive changes in OSH protocols, workers and employers are still facing significant challenges when it comes to workplace health and safety. 

Zeroing In on COVID-19 and Workplace Safety Numbers

The OSHA conducted 1,860 inspections that were related to COVID-19 in 2021.

  • This indicates an increase from 2020 figures, which were 1,695 inspections.
  • Between 2021 and 2022, a total of 560,750 DAFW cases in the private industry due to COVID-19 were reported.
  • Annually, there were 28.2 DAFW cases due to COVID-19 per 10,000 workers.

Analysis of Workplace Safety in the Midst of the Pandemic

The pandemic brought to light several key elements:

  • The vulnerability of employees, particularly those on the front line, to occupational hazards
  • The crucial role that workplace safety practices play
  • A significant shift in the workplace environment
  • Landmark changes in how employers approach workplace safety

Based on the BLS factsheet, most of the cases classified as “days away from work” cases  mainly affected the private industry, including:

  • Healthcare and social assistance – 288.890 cases
  • Manufacturing – 30,490 cases
  • Retail trade – 19,090 cases
  • Accommodation and food services – 8,640 cases
  • Wholesale trade – 8,600 cases

Based on recently published data from the EU:

  • 5% of work accidents in 2020 stemmed from COVID-19, while 8% of what was categorized as occupational diseases were classified as COVID-19 cases. 
  • During this same period, nearly 150,000 cases were reported as work accidents related to COVID-19, and nearly 10,000 occupational disease cases were recorded as COVID-19 cases. 
  • Of the different sectors affected by the pandemic, the health sector was affected the most:
  •  23% of work accidents were reported as occupational COVID-19 cases
  •  39% of occupational diseases are classified as COVID-19 cases.

Building a Data-Driven Safety Culture in Any Work Environment

Based on the data shared in this article, there’s an alarming uptick in workplace health and safety issues and a growing need for stronger and more preemptive initiatives for establishing workplace safety measures. Awareness of health and safety trends in work environments would allow companies to be more proactive in addressing occupational risks. 

For instance, the growing number of fatal injuries and preventable death cases sheds some light on which workplace practices or activities contribute the most to these incidents. With this information, organizations can begin identifying these hazards and develop workplace safety plans and programs tailored to their unique needs. 

Predictions and Trends in Workplace Safety

Standards in building and maintaining workplace safety are constantly evolving. Monitoring trends and practices that may play a major role in reshaping the future of the workplace can help organizations stay ahead while keeping their workers safe. Below are some of the emerging trends and predictions in workplace safety that are worth looking at:

  • There will be an increasing need to keep employees engaged and well-informed. Organizations can keep up with this trend by hosting regular training sessions that employ out-of-the-box approaches, like immersive technologies. They can also encourage workers to actively report hazards. 
  • It’s likely that, in the future, more organizations will leverage new technology, such as AI and IoT, to collect and analyze EHS data. They can use this data to develop a custom workplace safety plan and anticipate safety risks.

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