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Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses


The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) is a federal/state program that collects statistics used to identify problems with workplace safety and to develop programs to improve workplace safety. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require the recording and reporting by employers of occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. Each January, a sample of employers is selected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to participate in a mandatory SOII for that calendar year.

Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Data Years Available: 
Mode of Collection: 
Mandatory reports of occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses by a sample of employers.
Selected Content: 
Data include the number of new nonfatal injuries and illnesses by industry. Demographic data are collected on workers injured, the nature of the disabling condition, and the event and source producing that condition for cases that involve one or more days away from work.
Population Covered: 
Persons employed in private industry establishments in the U.S. The survey excludes the self-employed, farms with fewer than 11 employees, private households, and federal, state, and local government agencies.

Survey estimates of occupational injuries and illnesses are based on a scientifically selected probability sample of establishments, rather than a census of all establishments. Each January, an independent sample is selected for each state and the District of Columbia. Establishments in the sample are instructed to maintain lists of injuries and illnesses and to track days away from work, restricted, or transferred using the OSHA Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. An occupational injury is any injury that results from a work-related event or from a single instantaneous exposure in the work environment. An occupational illness is any abnormal condition or disorder caused by factors related to employment. It includes acute and chronic illnesses or diseases that may be caused by inhalation, absorption, ingestion, or direct contact.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

In 2007, employer reports were collected from about 205,900 private industries. The survey response rate was 92%.

Interpretation Issues: 

The number of new injuries and illnesses reported in any given year can be influenced by the level of economic activity, working conditions and work practices, worker experience and training, and number of hours worked. Long-term latent illnesses caused by exposure to carcinogens are believed to be understated in the survey's illness measure. In contrast, new illnesses such as contact dermatitis and carpal tunnel syndrome are easier to relate directly to workplace activity.


National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States 2009: With Special Feature on Medical Technology. Hyattsville, Maryland. 2010; pp 487-488.