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April 30, 2019
BLS examines job transfer, work restriction cases

The total number of work-related cases of days away from work, restricted work, or job transfer (DART) decreased from 1992 to 2016, primarily due to a decrease in the number of days away from work (DAFW) cases, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

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However, the percentage of cases involving days of job transfer or restriction (DJTR) increased. To better understand the demographics of those injured and the types of injuries in DJTR cases, the BLS examined six industry subsectors.

The number of DART cases is the sum of DJTR and DAFW cases.

Subsectors with high incidence rates, case counts

The BLS performed a pilot study, examining cases in six industry subsectors—accommodation, beverage and tobacco manufacturing, couriers and messengers, general merchandise stores, hospitals, and waste management and remediation services—with relatively high incidence rates and case counts of DJTR. The Bureau looked at DJTR cases from 2014 to 2016.

Highlights of the BLS’s report include:

  • DJTR incidence rates were essentially the same in 2016 as in 2014 for cases in accommodation, general merchandise stores, and waste management and remediation services industry subsectors;
  • In beverage and tobacco product manufacturing, injuries and illnesses sustained by workers in age groups 25 to 44 more often resulted in DJTR cases than DAFW cases in 2016, while there was either an equal or greater number of DAFW cases than DJTR cases for older workers;
  • DAFW incidence rates were lower in 2016 than they were in 2014 for accommodations, beverage and tobacco product manufacturing, hospitals, and waste management and remediation; and
  • In the beverage and tobacco product manufacturing and hospitals industry subsectors, the respective DJTR incidence rates were lower in 2016 than they were in 2014; while the 2016 DJTR incidence rate was higher in 2016 than in 2014 for couriers and messengers.

Drivers out 41 days

Motor vehicle operators in the couriers and messengers subsector took a median 41 days away from work following an injury. They took a median 17 DJTR before returning to unrestricted duties.

Injuries and illnesses more often led to DAFW than DJTR for motor vehicle operators in the subsector. There were 7,000 occupational injuries and illnesses among motor vehicle operators in 2016 that resulted in days away from work, down from 7,670 in 2015. There only were 3,970 injuries in 2015 and 4,840 in 2016 that led to DJTR.

The reverse was true for material moving workers—injuries and illnesses more often resulted in DJTR than DAFW.

Back injuries prevalent in hospitals

Among the six subsectors studied, hospitals had the highest DART case count. Of the 91,050 DART cases in the hospital subsector in 2016, 27 percent were injuries to the back. Injuries to the back occurred at higher rates for DAFW (34.0 per 10,000 full-time workers) than DJTR (29.4).

Healthcare practitioners and technician workers had the highest number of DART cases and accounted for 47 percent of the total DART cases in this industry subsector—24,170 resulted in DAFW, and 18,680 resulted in DJTR.

Better data for employers, insurers

The BLS data can help employers and insurers better understand:

  • Which occupations in the industry subsectors are prone to injuries that result in days of job transfer or restriction rather than days away from work, and
  • Which types of injuries are more likely to result in days away from work rather than days of job transfer or work restriction.
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