Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released its Seven-Year Lookback Report on its Severe Injury Reporting program.
Every year, thousands of workers in the United States are injured on the job, sometimes with permanent injuries or disabilities. OSHA requires employers to report all severe work-related injuries, defined as an amputation, in-patient hospitalization, or loss of an eye. The requirement began on January 1, 2015.
The report summarizes hospitalizations, amputations, and eye losses reported by employers to OSHA from 2015 to 2021 with analysis by geographic region and industry sectors. OSHA estimates that the report covers approximately half of U.S. workers, as the report covers federal OSHA jurisdiction only and do not include incidents under state plan state jurisdiction.
Since reporting began, OSHA received a total of 70,206 severe injury reports from employers under federal OSHA in all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
OSHA received 56,696 inpatient hospitalization SIRs and 18,559 amputation SIRs from 2015 to 2021. Many amputations are so severe they require inpatient hospitalization; a total of 5,049 reported amputations also required inpatient hospitalization. SIRs involving amputation and inpatient hospitalization are counted as one despite being categorized separately.
Although the loss of an eye is also required to be reported to OSHA, there were no eye losses reported during the period.
From 2015 to 2018 the average number of SIRs reported per day increased from 27 to 31. The COVID-19 pandemic likely contributed toward the 20% decrease from 2019 to 2020 due to shutdowns or changes to employment status for millions of workers. Because the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses standard (29 CFR 1904.39) only requires employers to report inpatient hospitalizations that occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident that caused the inpatient hospitalization, and the mean incubation period for SARS-CoV-2 ranges from 3-6 days from exposure to onset, COVID-19 hospitalizations were generally not required to be reported.
Read the free report: OSHA Severe Injury Report – A Seven Year Lookback (PDF)