Indicators of Occupational Health and Safety: Percentage of workers employed in occupations at high risk for occupational morbidity - MN Dept. of Health

The Percentage of Workers Employed in Occupations at High Risk for Occupational Morbidity

Rates of occupational injuries and illness vary greatly by both occupation and industry. This indicator focuses on the proportion of workers in occupations at high risk for injury or illness (morbidity).  For this indicator, “high risk” occupations are defined as those private sector occupations in the U.S. that have a two-fold or higher rate of injuries or illnesses involving one or more missed days of work. Since the overall injury rate has shown significant declines over the past decade, the actual rate considered “high risk” is modified every five years.

Two data sources are used to create this indicator: data showing occupations with a two-fold or higher injury and illness rate; and the number of workers employed in those occupations in Minnesota. The number of employees in each occupational category is derived from the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Census.

State and national data on rates 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.

Occupations that have at least twice the national rate of total reportable injuries and illnesses are classified as high risk. As the overall injury and illness rate has declined, the threshold rate for defining a high risk occupation (at least twice the overall rate) has also declined.   For the time frame shown for this indicator, three different threshold rates were used for defining a high risk occupation.  For the time period 2000-2002, an occupation was identified as high risk if the occupation had an injury and illness rate greater than 5 cases per 100 full time employees (representing 23 occupations).   For the time period 2003-2007, the high risk rate was defined as 2.6 cases per 100 full time employees (representing 82 occupations).  For the period 2008-2011, the high risk rate was defined as 2.3 cases per 100 full time workers (representing 61 occupations).

The percentages of workers in high risk occupations in Minnesota are shown in the graph and table below. High risk occupations for the most recent time period (2008-2011) are also shown in the table below.

Due to coding changes and changing threshold rates over each time period, trend analysis was limited to the five-year period 2003-2007.  No change was found in the percentage of Minnesotans employed in high risk occupations.

Percentage of Minnesotans Employed in High Morbidity Risk Occupations*, 2000-2011

Percentage of Minnesotans employed in occupations at high risk for morbidity between 2000 and 2011, data in table below

Percentage of Minnesotans Employed in High Morbidity Risk Occupations in Minnesota, 2000-2011

Year Percentage
2000 6.5
2001 6.1
2002 5.3
2003 10.1
2004 9.5
2005 9.0
2006 9.8
2007 9.4
2008 14.5
2009 13.8
2010 14.1
2011 14.4

The rate used in defining a high risk occupation was changed for each of the three time periods (2000–2002, 2003–2007, 2008–2011), so comparisons should not be made between any of three periods.

High Risk Occupations for Occupational Morbidity, 2008-2011

Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers
Emergency Medical technicians and paramedics
Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
First-line supervisor/managers of correctional officers
Transit and railroad police
Animal Control workers
Food servers, non-restaurant
First-line supervisors/managers of landscaping, lawn services, and grounds keeping
Janitors and building cleaners
Nonfarm animal caretakers
Transportation attendants
Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks
Meter readers, utilities
Forest and conservation workers
Brick masons, block masons, and stonemasons
Construction laborers
Pile-driver operators
Pipe layers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Reinforcing iron and rebar workers
Structural iron and steel workers
Highway maintenance workers
Miscellaneous construction and related workers
Mining machine operators
Roof bolters, mining
Aircraft mechanics and service technicians
Automotive glass installers and repairers
Automotive service technicians and mechanics
Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists
Heating, air condition, and refrigeration mechanics and installers
Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics
Telecommunications line installers and repairers
Coin, Vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers
Welding, soldering, and brazing workers
Lay-out workers, metal and plastic
Model makers and patternmakers, wood
Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood
Stationary engineers and boiler operators
Cementing and gluing machine operators and tenders
Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders
Cooling and freezing equipment operators and tenders
Etchers and engravers
Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic
Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders
Tire builders
Helpers-production workers
Production workers, all other
Bus drivers
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
Railroad conductors and yardmasters
Subway, streetcar, and other rail transportation workers
Sailors and marine oilers
Hoist and winch operators
Laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand
Shuttle car operators

The table above shows a list of occupations that had an injury rate at least twice the overall U.S. rate during 2008-2011.

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Updated Monday, March 31, 2014 at 09:10AM