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Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Work-Related Respiratory Disease Rate Soars

Private industry employers reported 2.6 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2021, a decrease of 1.8 percent from 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In 2021, the incidence rate of total recordable cases (TRC) in private industry was 2.7 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, unchanged from 2020. These estimates are from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII).

The decline in injury and illness cases was due to a drop in illness cases, with private industry employers reporting 365,200 nonfatal illnesses in 2021, down from 544,600 in 2020, a drop of 32.9 percent. This decrease was driven by a 37.1 percent decrease in employer-reported

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

respiratory illness cases in 2021 at 269,600, down from 428,700 in 2020. (See chart 2.) In 2019, there were 127,200 illness cases and 10,800 respiratory illness cases. Total reported injury cases increased by 6.3 percent to 2.2 million cases in 2021, up from 2.1 million cases in 2020. (See chart 1.)

The rate of injury cases increased in 2021, with private industry employers reporting a rate of 2.3 cases per 100 FTE workers compared to 2.2 cases in 2020. Over the same period, the rate of illness cases decreased from 55.9 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers to 37.7 cases. The decrease was driven by the drop in the respiratory illness rate, which fell from 44.0 cases per 10,000 FTE workers to 27.8 cases.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact in SOII Results

Occupational injuries and illnesses collected in the 2021 SOII include cases of COVID-19 when a worker was infected as a result of performing their work-related duties and met other recordkeeping criteria. COVID-19 is considered a respiratory illness under criteria established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.