© Copyright 2004 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for 2002

by: Valerie A. Davis, Economist

Wyoming's highest nonfatal occupational injury and illness incidence rate occurred in the general building contractors industry (13.4) while transportation by air had the highest in the nation as a whole (11.8).

The Research & Planning (R&P) section of the Wyoming Department of Employment conducts the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the past, Wyoming’s data were used only in national and regional estimates. With the release of the 2002 survey results, Wyoming-specific data are now available to help local employers and safety awareness groups identify trends and areas where additional safety training may be beneficial. In this article we present incidence rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires a sample of private industry employers, including those with only one employee, to track work-related injuries and illnesses by maintaining OSHA 300 forms (a revision from the OSHA 200 forms that were kept before 2002). Employers use selected data from these OSHA forms to complete the annual survey. An injury or illness is considered recordable on the OSHA 300 form if it results in one or more of the following:
l death
l days away from work
l restricted work or transfer to another job
l medical treatment beyond first aid
l loss of consciousness
l a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional

The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses is required by law. However, only a portion of Wyoming employers are selected to participate. Approximately 2,400 companies were randomly selected and notified in 2001 to participate in the 2002 Annual Survey.

Due to Wyoming’s population and the smaller size of its companies, the survey sample includes many small companies. For example, the 2002 survey sample includes 1,469 firms with nine employees or less.

The recordkeeping forms to keep track of work-related accidents and illnesses throughout the calendar year were mailed in January 2002. R&P surveyed employers regarding their workplace injury data in early 2003. Ninety-nine percent of selected Wyoming employers completed the mandatory survey by August 2003. The summary tabulations, finalized in late 2003, are presented here. Statewide demographic and case characteristics data by industry will be released in early 2004.


The BLS determines incidence rates from the gathered data. Incidence rates by industry record the number of illnesses or injuries per 100 employees. National rates are also determined from standard surveys conducted throughout the country. Through the states’ efforts, the BLS gathers employer data including the number of days away from work that an employee took for a work-related accident or illness. The day of injury and the day the person returned to work are not counted. Also, days beyond 180 (per case) are not counted. Another data element is the Other Recordable case. This type of injury or illness did not require days away from work, or days of job transfer or restriction, but did require medical treatment beyond first aid.

Every year the BLS strives to conduct the survey in the same way, though changes in recordkeeping requirements, like the classification codes for occupations or industries, may occur. The survey was designed to recycle the experience of one-third of participating employers in each of the three subsequent years, meaning approximately one-third of the employers who participated in the 2002 survey received the 2003 survey materials. The same holds true for those employers who will receive the 2004 forms and survey; one-third participated in the 2002 survey and one-third participated in the 2003 survey.

For 2002, survey results were based on Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. When 2003 survey results are made available, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes will be used for the first time. Also, the source used to code occupational data for the 2002 survey made a transition in 2003 from the Occupational Injury and Illness Occupational Coding Manual to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) coding system now used by most other federal statistical programs. These changes, along with other recent changes in OSHA recordkeeping requirements represent a time-series break in the data preventing comparisons of data between the years 2001 and 2004. However, comparisons can be shown between Wyoming, other states, and national data within each of these years.


From the collection results for the year 2002, Wyoming’s highest nonfatal occupational injury and illness incidence rate occurred in the general building contractors industry (13.4 per 100 full-time employees). For the U.S., it was 11.8 for transportation by air (see Figure). Eight of the ten highest incidence rates in the U.S. are in the Manufacturing industry. Wyoming’s highest ten are distributed among several industries such as Construction, Services, Mining, and Retail Trade.

The Table shows the incidence rates for Wyoming and the U.S. for the major industries and some selected subindustries. Data corresponding to the U.S. industries shown in the Figure are not listed separately in the Table, because Wyoming had no publishable data at that same level of industry detail. However, comparing total recordable cases for the U.S. and Wyoming, the incidence rates of nonfatal injuries and illnesses is higher for Wyoming in key goods-producing subindustries such as agriculture, forestry, & fishing (11.5 incidences per 100 employed in Wyoming compared to 6.4 per 100 for the U.S.); general building contractors (13.4 in Wyoming compared to 6.2 in the U.S.); and electrical work (11.1 in Wyoming compared to 6.4 in the U.S.).

Compared to the U.S., Wyoming has a smaller incidence rate in Mining, particularly coal mining, which may imply that Wyoming companies in this industry use more safeguards than other firms outside Wyoming. Weather conditions (i.e., wind, ice, snow) are likely factors contributing to higher incidence rates in Construction and Agriculture in Wyoming.

Within Wyoming services-producing subindustries, hotels & other lodging places showed an incidence rate of 12.1 per 100 full-time workers, well above the 6.6 reported for the U.S. The BLS reported that Wyoming hospitals showed an incidence rate of 12.2 compared to 9.7 for the U.S. Future investigations using several years of survey data may indicate areas within these industries where Wyoming may need to concentrate more safety training.


With this first installment of 2002 Wyoming data, R&P plans to investigate, for example, the relationships between access to employer-provided health benefits, Workers’ Compensation claims by firm, and the reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses. Linking this survey data with other administrative databases such as Wage Records provides R&P with many new avenues for labor market research.


U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Retrieved December 31, 2003, from http://www.bls.gov/iif/home.htm


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