While every sub-sector in the construction and manufacturing industries has its own unique safety concerns, most of them share similar risks on the job—moving objects, handling sharp or heavy materials, and elevation changes, among others.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released its 2014 data on nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, which gives an indication of the dangers and their severity.

For the year, the construction industry had a 132.7 incidence rate, which represent the number of injuries and illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers. The leading cause of missed time in construction was contact with objects, which had a 44.3 incidence rate.

That same category also led the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing had an overall incidence rate of 103.1, and contact with objects tallied a rate of 37.5.

The second biggest cause of missed time in the construction industry were falls to a lower level (17.7), followed by falls on the same level (14.8) and overexertion in lifting/lowering (11.1). Other categories included transportation incidents (7.2), slips or trips (5.9) and exposure to harmful substances/environments (4.6).

Falls on the same level (11.4) accounted for the second-most missed time in the manufacturing industry, followed closely by overexertion in lifting/lowering (11.2). Repetitive motion accounted for 6.4 percent of missed work time in that sector, and other notable categories were exposure to harmful substances/environments (5.2), falls to lower level (4.0), slips or trips (3.2) and transportation incidents (2.3).


Of the 12 incident categories listed in the data, sprains/strains/tears represented the most missed time for construction workers and showed a 36.6 incidence rate. The soreness/pain/back pain classification accounted for the second most time off (23.0). Fractures and cuts/lacerations (both 16.1) were next, followed by bruises/contusions (6.7) and multiple traumatic injuries/disorders (4.3).

Sprains/strains/tears also led manufacturing for time missed, with an incidence rate of 31.6. Soreness/pain was the second leading injury to cause missed time (13.1), followed by cuts/lacerations (10.9) and fractures (10.0). The bruises/contusions category was fourth at a 7.7 rate.

The construction industry saw a recorded 74,460 days away from work, while manufacturing totaled 125,990 days. Both had a median days away from work of 10.

By occupation, construction laborers recorded an incidence rate of 309.7 across the private, state and local sectors.

Across all industries, the overall incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work was 107.1 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2014, down from the 2013 rate of 109.4. In 2014, there were 1,157,410 days-away-from-work cases in private industry, state government and local government. The median days away from work to recuperate was nine days in 2014, one day more than reported in 2013.