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OSH-3 Data Details

OSH-3 Reduce the rate of injury and illness cases involving days away from work due to overexertion or repetitive motion

About the Data

Description of the data source, numerator, denominator, survey questions, and other relevant details about the national estimate.

National Data Source
Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII); Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (DOL/BLS)
Current Population Survey (CPS); U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (Census and DOL/BLS)
Changed Since the Healthy People 2020 Launch
per 10,000 
Baseline (Year)
29.6 (2008)
Target-Setting Method
10 percent improvement
Number of reported work-related nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses due to overexertion or repetitive motion involving days away from work among workers
Total number of hours worked by workers
Data Collection Frequency
Comparable Healthy People 2010 Objective
Retained from HP2010 objective
Methodology Notes

Musculoskeletal disorders have been defined to include overexertion and repetitive motion cases, defined by Event or Exposure codes 22 (Overexertion applies to cases, usually non-impact, in which the injury or illness resulted from excessive physical effort directed at an outside source of injury or illness. The physical effort may involve lifting, pulling, pushing, turning, wielding, holding, carrying, or throwing the source of injury/illness) and 23 (Repetitive motion applies when an injury or illness resulted from bodily motion which imposed stress or strain upon some part of the body due to a task's repetitive nature) as defined by BLS.

The SOII is a cooperative Federal–State program in which employer reports of occupational injuries and illnesses based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordkeeping rules are collected from a nationally representative sample of private industry establishments. For the first time in 2008, the SOII provided national public sector estimates covering nearly 19 million state and local government workers. However, this objective tracks only workers in the private sector because BLS does not publish aggregate rate data for private industry and state and local governments that rely on “days away from work” data. SOII excludes the self-employed, farms with fewer than 11 employees, private household workers, and employees in Federal government agencies.

The incidence rates represent the number of illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers and were calculated as: (N/EH) x 20,000,000, where N= number of illnesses, EH=total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year, and 20,000,000=base for 10,000 equivalent full-time workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year).

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders continue to be a significant public health problem. Over 30 percent of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses with days away from work continue to be attributable to overexertion and repetitive motion injuries and illnesses.

Caveats and Limitations
Recent reports, including a 2009 GAO report, have questioned the completeness and accuracy of the employer reports included in SOII. BLS is conducting research to address the potential undercount in SOII, and the CDC's National Instiute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recently begun research to increase understanding of barriers and incentives for workers to report injuries. Additionally, in October 2009, OSHA began a program to emphasize recordkeeping, including having OSHA inspectors review occupational injury and illness records prepared by businesses.


Additional resources about the objective.

  1. DOL. News Release. U.S. Labor Department's OSHA begins National Emphasis Program on recordkeeping to determine accuracy of worker injury and illness data. Washington, DC: Department of Labor, OSHA, October 1, 2009, O0-775-NAT.
  2. Government Accounting Office. Workplace safety and health: Enhancing OSHA's records audit process could improve the accuracy of worker injury and illness data. October 2009, GA)-10-10." title="" target="_blank">
  3. Ruser J. Examining evidence on whether BLS undercounts workplace injuries and illnesses. Monthly Labor Review, August 2008:20-32.;
  4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (US BLS). Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away from Work. 2008. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009. Available at
  5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (US BLS). Occupational Injury and Illness Classification Manual. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007. Available at Accessed March 29, 2010.