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Workplace injuries and illnesses increased by 7.5 percent in 2022 in the US

The BLS has reported that from 2021 to 2022, workplace injuries increased 7.5 percent. What drove the rapid increase?

Update:
The BLS has reported that from 2021 to 2022, workplace injuries increased 7.5 percent. What drove the rapid increase?
MEGAN VARNERREUTERS

Workplace injuries and illnesses returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, increasing 7.5 percent from 2021 to 2.8 million. In 2020, workplace injuries and illnesses fell as workers were laid off due to business closures caused by the COVID-19 virus. The US Department of Labor released no statement on the 2022 numbers.

While injuries fell, levels remained under pre-pandemic levels, rates of illness remained high, pushing the total figures close to those recorded in 2019.

Total Injuries and Illness

Year Total Injuries and Illness  Injuries  Illnesses 
2018 2,834.5 2,707.8 126.8 
2019 2,814.0 2,686.8 127.2
2020 2,654.7  2,110.1 544.6
2021 2,607.9 2,242.7 365.2
2022 2,804.2  2,343.6 460.7 

In 2022, these trends continued, but injury levels began to tick up as workers returned to the labor force in greater numbers. Altogether, this level of injury and illness led to 1.18 million days away from work, which is higher than the figure recorded in 2020 (1.17 million) and 2021 (1.06 million).

A closer look at workplace injuries

In 2022, injuries increased by 4.5 percent to 2.3 million cases —still down from the 2.7 million in 2019.

The most common injuries that led to workers having to take time off from work or that required work transfers or restrictions were: overexertion (~1 million); contact with objects and equipment (~780,000); falls, slips, and trips (~640,000); and exposure to harmful substances (~658,000), rounding out the causes top causes in 2022.