Disabling occupational morbidity in the United States. An alternative way of seeing the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data

J Occup Environ Med. 1999 Jan;41(1):60-9. doi: 10.1097/00043764-199901000-00010.


The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) annual survey of occupational injuries and illnesses (ASOII) is one of the most frequently utilized sources of data on national occupational morbidity. In 1992 the BLS introduced a new and expanded survey method that collects more detailed data on cases with days-away-from-work (DAW). However, to date, the BLS has not released any official publication that contains a comprehensive set of crosstabulated part-of-body (BP) and nature-of-injury (NOI) data. To improve the understanding of national DAW case morbidity estimates, the study presented here utilized a special data-call and data-reduction strategy to identify the leading ASOII BP-NOI combinations for DAW cases by frequency, incidence rate, and severity (median DAW) for 1994. The results indicated the significance of disability associated with discrete trauma (ie, resulting from instantaneous or sudden events) in the US workplace. While morbidity associated with back pain clearly continued as the most frequent type of disabling case, fractures at critical anatomical sites (eg, pelvic region, leg, shoulder) were responsible for the most lengthy disability absences from work in 1994. In some instances these findings were contrary to conclusions typically inferred from BLS publications.

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services*
  • Humans
  • Industry / statistics & numerical data
  • Morbidity / trends*
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Statistical Distributions*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*