Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders with Days Away From Work Reported by Employers

This indicator measures the number of individuals reported by employers to have missed days of work due to a musculoskeletal disorder.   Musculoskeletal disorders include carpal tunnel syndrome, injury to the neck and shoulders, or injury to the back. (Another indicator for carpal tunnel syndrome is based on workers’ compensation claims.) 

people carying boxesMusculoskeletal disorders usually develop due to overuse of muscles, bad posture, or repeated movement. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are preventable. With the correct controls and efficient ergonomic design in place, employees can avoid injuries caused by repetitive stress movements and improper body alignment.

State and national data on occupational injuries and illnesses are derived from the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in collaboration with the states.  The SOII collects data on non-fatal injuries and illnesses for each calendar year from a sample of employers. However, SOII does not include small farms, federal employees, self-employed, and household workers. The employers are required to provide information on injury or illness cases that result in one or more lost workdays, restricted work activity, job transfer, loss of consciousness, or require medical treatment (other than first aid).  National and state data are available from the BLS web site. In Minnesota, the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) compiles these cases and reports on an annual basis and the data are presented in great detail in DLI’s annual Minnesota Workplace Safety Report.

In Minnesota in 2011, there were an estimated 7,200 cases of musculoskeletal disorders involving days away from work among private sector employees, for an annual rate of 407 per 100,000 ful-time workers. Of the total 7,200 cases of musculoskeletal disorders in 2011 in private industry, 1,820 were neck, shoulder, or upper extremity injuries; 120 were carpal tunnel injuries; and 3,550 were back injuries.

Number and Rate of All Musculoskeletal Disorders Involving Days Away from Work in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Year Number Rate per 100,000 Full-Time workers
2000 14,872 805
2001 11,833 667
2002 12,025 687
2003 9,940 558
2004 9,770 563
2005 9,000 500
2006 8,730 473
2007 9,460 467
2008 7,410 398
2009 6,710 372
2010 7,240 416
2011 7,200 407

Number of All Musculoskeletal Disorders Involving Days Away from Work in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Number of musculoskeletal disorders that occurred between 2000 and 2011 in Minnesota, data in table above

Incidence Rate of All Musculoskeletal Disorders Involving Days Away from Work per 100,000 Full Time Workers, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Incidence rate of musculoskeletal disorders between 2000 and 2011 in Minnesota, data in table above

Number and Rate of Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Shoulder, and Upper Extremities Involving Days Away from Work in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Year Number Rate per 100,000 Full-Time Workers
2000 1,962 115
2001 3,347 189
2002 3,335 191
2003 2,750 154
2004 3,100 178
2005 2,390 133
2006 2,550 139
2007 2,240 123
2008 2,110 113
2009 1,710 95
2010 1,980 114
2011 1,820 103

Number of Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Shoulder, and Upper Extremities Involving Days Away from Work in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Number of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders between 2000 and 2011 in Minnesota, data in table above

Incidence Rate of Musculoskeletal Disorders of Neck, Shoulder, and Upper Extremities Involving Days Away From Work per 100,000 Full-Time Workers in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Incidence rate of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders between 2000 and 2011 in Minnesota, data in table above

Number and Rate of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Cases Involving Days Away from Work in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Year Number Rate per 100,000 Full-Time Workers
2000 875 47
2001 666 38
2002 808 46
2003 630 35
2004 550 32
2005 360 20
2006 590 32
2007 350 19
2008 300 16
2009 310 17
2010 310 18
2011 120 7

Number of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Cases Involving Days Away from Work in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Number of carpal tunnel cases between 2000 and 2011 in Minnesota, data in table above

Incidence Rate of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Cases Involving Days Away From Work per 100,000 Full-Time Workers in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Incidence rate of carpal tunnel cases in Minnesota between 2000 and 2011, data in table above

Number and Rate of Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Back Involving Days Away from Work in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Year Number Rate per 100,000 Full-Time Workers
2000 4,509 263
2001 6,425 362
2002 6,470 369
2003 5,250 294
2004 4,820 278
2005 4,720 263
2006 4,490 243
2007 4,250 234
2008 3,910 210
2009 3,680 204
2010 3,950 227
2011 3,550 201

Number of Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Back Involving Days Away from Work in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Number of musculoskeletal back disorders between 2000 and 2011 in Minnesota, data in table above

Incidence Rate of Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Back Involving Days Away from Work per 100,000 Full-Time Workers in Minnesota, Private Sector, 2000-2011

Incidence rate of musculoskeletal back disorders between 2000 and 2011 in Minnesota, data in table above

Trend analysis of this indicator demonstrates a statistically significant decrease in the number of musculoskeletal disorders reported by employers between 2000 and 2011.  This decline may be a product of the introduction of ergonomic interventions and education regarding proper body alignment and support when performing job duties. As this indicator is based on a sample of industries using employer-provided records, an undercount in the number of musculoskeletal disorders is very likely.  Even though this indicator may not be a complete count, it does provide an understanding of the rates and trends of musculoskeletal disorders that occur each year and the continued need for both surveillance and intervention programs to further reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

For resources on ergonomics and how to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, as well as research regarding musculoskeletal disorders please visit the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ergonomics/.

Return to Indicators of Occupational Health and Safety

Updated Monday, April 07, 2014 at 09:19AM