Danger Ahead: Injuries And Illness Up By 7.5% From 2021 To 2022

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Danger Ahead: Injuries And Illness Up By 7.5% From 2021 To 2022

On November 8th, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2022, which is a 7.5% increase from 2021. Specifically, injuries rose by 4.5% to 2.3 million and illnesses by 26.1% to 460,700. Respiratory issues were the most common illness, increasing by 35.4% to reach 365,000 cases. Most affected were transportation and material moving roles, which suffered from the highest DART (days away, restricted or transferred) rates. This covers several high-risk EHS industries including airlines, construction, mining, and oil and gas. Of the cases recorded, 39.7% resulted in at least one day of job transfer or restriction.

It Is worth noting that these statistics may not paint the full picture, as many firms still actively or inadvertently discourage employees from reporting incidents and near-misses. Consequences of illness and injury can include laying workers off for lengthy periods – decreasing production rates – and potential harm to brand reputation. For example, Woodside Energy had to close four plants for two weeks following a safety incident, negatively affecting production levels and consequent earnings.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) previously outlined several steps that help reduce preventable injuries and illnesses in the workplace. These include gathering information on safety problems, documenting and tracking health and safety issues, tailored training programmes, and investing in all health and safety incidents including close calls. EHS software and technologies can help achieve these steps.

Digital EHS tools help create a bridge between frontline workers and managers. Hazard mapping tools such as UAVs and wearables that track bodily metrics help identify potentially hidden issues. For example, UAVs can reach small spaces or extreme heights, alleviating the need for workers to conduct tasks such as inspections in these dangerous conditions. Furthermore, tracking bodily metrics is useful when workers are in harsh conditions or out in the field. This information is relayed to managers in real time, meaning that they will be alerted instantly if an incident occurs, providing more time to administer help.

Mobile tools are becoming increasingly popular as they enable workers to report incidents and near-misses in real time. When these incidents are all compiled onto one platform, firms have a better understanding of their entire organization and can easily analyse each situation and identify where common risks arise. EHS leads can then implement measures that help prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.

Safety training is essential in high-risk EHS industries, as employees regularly work with hazardous materials in harsh conditions. Previously, training programmes were mostly extensive PowerPoints and training videos that failed to engage with workers. Improvements in technology have enabled firms to leverage VR software to create interactive safety training modules. Organizations can create digital twin models of their worksites, and workers can practise common tasks and safety protocols without the fear of causing a major incident. This enables individuals to gain experience and confidence in how to conduct themselves safely and what procedures they must follow should any events or incidents occur.

Taking all these steps will help firms build a better safety culture. It is crucial to build an organization-wide understanding that there are several factors that contribute to incidents, which if identified early can be minimized and mitigated. To read more about reducing workplace illness and injuries, click here.

Zain Idris


Zain is an Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice. His current research agenda focuses on total worker health and software vendor partnerships. Prior to this role, Zain completed an internship at Verdantix recording major mergers and acquisitions within each practice. Zain holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Warwick.