NJ CASE CHARACTERISTICS & DEMOGRAPHIC DATA HIGHLIGHTS, 2009
Each year, the findings of the annual Occupational Safety and Health
Survey are released to the general public in two waves. This year the first was in October followed
by this release in November. In October,
estimates of the number of occupational injuries and illnesses and the
incidence rates (the indexed number of cases per 100 full-time workers) were
issued. This portion focuses on injuries
and illnesses that resulted in days away from the job, selected demographics of
the affected workers and characteristics and severity of the cases. Worker demographics include gender, age,
occupation, length of service with the employer, race or ethnic origin, day of
the week, time of event, and the time on the job before the event
occurred. Case characteristics describe
the nature of the injury or illness, the part of the body affected, the source
of the injury or illness and the event or exposure that caused the injury or
illness. The severity of the case is measured by the number of days that were
lost from the affected individual’s regular job. New Jersey first participated in this federal-state
cooperative program in 1993. Incidence
rates for selected private sector demographic data have been available since
2006. For the first time since the
survey’s inception, government sector incidence rates are available for
selected case characteristics and demographic data. Case characteristic and demographic incidence
rates show the number of cases for the selected data element per 10,000
number of cases of work-related injuries and illnesses that involved days away
from work (with or without job transfer or restriction) decreased by four
percent to 45,000 cases for 2009, from 46,900 in 2008. The number of lost time cases reported for 2009
is 23 percent less than the 58,700 cases reported in 2003.
There were 32,220 cases involving
days away from work due to workplace injuries and illnesses in New Jersey’s private sector
in 2009. Since 2003, this figure has
decreased by 24 percent. Lost time cases
occurred at a rate of 121.4 cases per 10,000 full-time workers within New Jersey’s private
sector. The following highlights show
how the cases involving days away from work are distributed among various
characteristics of the injured worker and the injury or illness case.
Characteristics of the
Injured/Ill NJ Private Sector Worker:
- Men made up 63
percent of the lost-time cases in New
Jersey’s private sector. The incidence rate for lost time cases
among male workers was 133.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, which is
greater than that of the private sector as a whole. This means that men sustained injuries
involving days away from work more frequently then their female counterparts.
- Lost time
cases among men were also slightly more severe than cases among women. Men required a median of 9 days to
recover from lost-time cases, while women returned to private sector jobs
after a median of 7 days recovery.
The overall private sector median days lost was 8 for 2009.
- Half (50.8%)
of the private sector lost time cases affected middle-aged workers –
between 35 and 54 years old. Workers
45-54 years old had the largest percentage of lost-time cases (27.8%) the
highest incidence rate (130.1), and required the longest recovery time,
with median days lost of 12.
- New Jersey private sector workers with at least
1 year of service with their employer made up 78 percent of the cases
involving days away from work in 2009.
The median days (9) lost due to injury or illness was greatest
among workers with 5 or more years of service.
categories of job titles had the highest incidence rates for lost-time
Transportation and material moving occupations
(includes hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, as well as heavy
and tractor-trailer truck drivers) had an incidence rate of 344 cases per
10,000 full-time workers.
Installation, maintenance and repair occupations
had a lost-time cases incidence rate of 306.1 cases per 10,000 workers.
Healthcare support occupations (includes nursing
aides, orderlies, attendants) had an incidence rate of 291.1 cases per 10,000
In all of these occupational categories except
healthcare support occupations (median 6 days lost), the median days lost was
greater than the private sector average of 8.
- Hand laborers
and freight, stock, and material movers had by far the highest number (10%
of lost-time cases in 2009) of cases involving days away from work within New Jersey’s
private sector since 2003. Four
occupations required more than double the private sector average of 8 days
away from work to recover from work-related injuries and illnesses.
Truck drivers, light or delivery services – 24
Maids and housekeeping cleaners – 23 median days
Driver/sales workers – 20 median days
Truck drivers, heavy and tractor trailer – 19
of the Injury/Illness:
Injuries and illnesses are described by four
characteristics – nature of injury or illness, part of body, the source of the
injury or illness, and the event or exposure.
These characteristics, when looked at together, give a clear picture of
the injury or illness and how it happened.
The nature of injury or illness is the diagnosis or medical
finding. When the nature is combined
with the part of body affected, we can see what medical condition has been
identified as a result of the accident or exposure. Examples of common nature/part combinations
include sprained back, cut finger, or carpal tunnel syndrome to the nerves in
the wrist. The source of the injury or
illness is the object that directly caused the nature of the injury or
illness. The event or exposure describes
how the accident happened. Overexertion
in lifting containers and falls to the floor or ground surfaces are common
examples of source/event combinations.
- Sprains and
strains are by far the most frequently occurring nature of work-related
injury/illness, accounting for 35 percent of the private sector cases with
days away from work. Sprains
and strains had a median of 10 days lost per case. The two natures of injury or illness
with the second highest percentage of cases in 2009 were bruises,
contusions and cuts/lacerations, each making up 11 percent of cases with
Natures of injury or
illness with high median days away from work were tendonitis (40 days) and carpal
tunnel syndrome (26 days), but these two combined make up less than half of one
percent of the total private sector cases.
- The body part
most frequently injured in 2009 was the back, making up 20 percent of the
private sector cases resulting in days away from work. Multiple body parts was the second
leading part of body injured, accounting for 12 percent of all lost-time
cases, while fingers made up 11 percent of all parts injured. Median days lost for the back was 9
days, just above the average of 8 for all private sector cases. Finger injuries were less severe,
resulting in a median of 4 days lost.
Ankle injuries (24 days) and shoulder injuries (23 days) resulted
in the longest absences.
- The most
common sources of injury or illness in 2009 were floors, walkways, and ground
surfaces, worker motion or position, and containers, accounting for a
total of 46% of the cases involving days away from work. Floors, walkways, and ground surfaces had
the highest percentage of cases (20.5%), and also had the highest median
days lost (14) among all of the source categories.
- More than half
(52%) of New Jersey’s private sector cases involving days away from work were
caused by contact with objects and equipment or overexertion. Contact with objects and equipment
(29% of lost time cases) includes being struck by an object, a worker who
struck him/herself against an object, or who is caught in equipment or an
object. Almost half of the
overexertion cases were due to overexertion in lifting. These injury/illness event categories,
which characterize how the accident or exposure happened, resulted in a
wide range of median days lost.
Cases caused by repetitive motion made up less than one percent of
the private sector lost-time cases, but resulted in a median of 28 days
away from work.
- Results from
2009 work-related private sector injuries and illnesses show that the most
common time for an accident was in the morning. Thirty-one percent of cases involving
days away from work occurred between 8 A.M. and noon and 21 percent of
cases occurred between noon and 4 P.M.
Furthermore, 23 percent of cases occurred when the affected worker
was on the job between 2 and 4 hours before sustaining the injury or
illness. Eighty-seven percent of
all private sector lost-time accidents or exposures took place during a
Public Sector – State and Local Government
New Jersey’s public sector workers sustained
12,790 cases involving days away from work in 2009. The number of lost-time cases in state
government fell from 3,910 in 2008 to 3,830 in 2009, and the number of local
government lost-time cases decreased from 9,060 to 8,960 between 2008 and 2009. These continuing downward trends in
government sector lost-time cases indicate that safety and health prevention
efforts are having a positive impact. A
median of 8 days of work were lost by state government workers while local
government employees returned to work after a median of 7 days lost due to
work-related injuries and illnesses.
The following highlights show how
the cases involving days away from work are distributed among various
characteristics of the injured worker and the injury or illness case. While the type of work performed in the public
sector is often different from the private sector, many of the worker injury
and illness characteristics are similar. (Incidence rates for government sector
demographics data are not available.)
Characteristics of the Injured/Ill
NJ Public Sector Worker:
- Men made up
half of the state government lost-time cases, while accounting for two-thirds
of the local government cases involving lost workdays.
of New Jersey’s
public sector cases involving days away from work by age group in 2009 is
similar for state and local government. Workers between 45 and 54 years old
sustained the highest percentage of cases, with 29 percent of state
government cases and 27 percent of local government lost-time cases in
- Government workers
who have been with their employer for one year or more made up the
majority of public sector cases.
Ninety-four percent of state government lost-time cases affected
workers with one or more years of service with their employer. Sixty-two percent of the lost-time cases
in state government were among workers with more than five years of
service with their employer. Local
government workers with at least a year of service made up 93% of that
sector’s cases involving days away from work in New Jersey. Injured workers with more than five
years of service with their local government employer accounted for 65
percent of the lost-time cases in that sector.
government workers with the highest percentage of lost-workday cases were
correctional officers and jailors (16%), psychiatric aides (8%), social
and human service assistants (7%), and transit and intercity bus drivers
(7%). Of these three
occupations, correctional officers and jailers (37) and transit and
intercity bus drivers (18) lost a median number of days that was greater
than the overall state government median of 8.
occupations within local government combined to make up one-third of the
cases involving days away from work.
These occupations were police and sheriff’s patrol officers (1,340
lost-time cases), janitors and cleaners (840), and elementary school
teachers, except special education (770).
Of these three occupations, only the median days lost for janitors
and cleaners (9) was above the overall median of 7 days lost for local
government in 2009.
of the Injury/Illness:
- Sprains and
strains were the most frequently occurring type of lost-workday cases in
both government sectors, making up 37 percent of state government cases
with days away from work and 38 percent of local government cases in 2009. Median days lost for sprains was 16
in state government and 9 in local government – both higher than the
average median days lost for the sectors.
- The back was
the most often specified part of body injured within the government
sectors, accounting for 16 percent of state government lost-time cases and
17 percent of local government injuries and illnesses with days away from
work. The shoulder was by far
the most severely injured part, requiring a median of 41 days away from
work to recover within state government and 23 days out before returning
to work within local government.
- The source of
the highest percentage of lost-time cases in both state and local
government was floors, walkways, ground surfaces, with 25 percent and 24
percent of cases, respectively. Median
days lost for injuries and illnesses caused by floors, walkways, and ground
surfaces (14) was higher in state government than the general sector
average (all sources combined) of 8.
government, the second largest percentage of cases with lost time was caused by
person, other than worker (22%) – a category that includes health care patients
(11% of cases) and inmates (data for this detail level of source is not
currently available). Worker motion or
position (16% of cases) was the second most frequently occurring source of
injury or illness with lost time in local government.
- Falls (to
lower level or on same level) were the leading cause of state government
sector cases, making up 24 percent of both the state and local government sectors’
cases involving days away from work in New Jersey. Assaults and violent acts by person
(17%), contact with object or equipment (17%), and overexertion (16%)
combined with falls to make up three quarters of the lost-time cases in New Jersey state
government. In local government, contact
with object or equipment (20%) and overexertion (19%) were the injury or
illness events that caused the next largest percentage of lost-time cases