First Responders Rank Highest in Musculoskeletal Disorders

First Responders Rank Highest in Musculoskeletal Disorders

Newly published information reveals first responders are among the highest musculoskeletal disorders due to an injury or illness.  These disorders can affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints and cartilage in your upper and lower limbs, neck and lower back.


Occupation Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers Number of days away from work cases[2]
Firefighters 191.1 7,170
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics 174.7 4,510
Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks 146.4 1,740
Nursing Assistants 140.5 17,240
Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity 123.7 1,790
Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers 123.2 2,800
Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers 117 1,450
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 100 25,930
Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers 87.4 8,430
Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 82.4 6,240
All workers with musculoskeletal disorders 29.1 335,070


Report data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) which measures labor market activity, working conditions, price changes, and productivity in the U.S. economy to support public and private decision making.  As an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor it provides statistical guidance to the department and its agencies and works in partnership with those agencies to support their data needs.


Industry-level estimates

  • Incidence rates and numbers of nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses are presented by industry and case types, including total recordable cases (TRC); days away from work, job transfer, or restriction (DART) cases; days away from work (DAFW) cases; and other recordable cases (ORC).
  • Industry-level estimates for nonfatal injuries and illnesses combined and for injuries only are presented per 100 full-time workers for incidence rates and rounded to thousands for numbers of cases. Industry-level estimates of illness cases are presented per 10,000 full-time workers.

Case circumstances and worker characteristics

  • Estimates of case circumstance and worker characteristics are presented for the subset of cases that resulted in days away from work (DAFW).
  • Case circumstances include: event or exposure, source, nature of injury or illness, part of body, day of week and time of incident
  • Worker characteristics include: occupation, gender, age, and race
  • DAFW incidence rates are calculated per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers and case counts are rounded to the nearest ten.


  • More information on the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) can be found inthe BLS Handbook of Methods at
  • Data users are cautioned to take into account the different levels of precision when analyzing estimates presented in these charts.
  • [1]Standard Occupational Classification Manual, 2010, Office of Management and Budget.

    [2]Days-away-from-work cases include those that resulted in days away from work, some of which also included job transfer or restriction.

    Note: Because of rounding and data exclusion of non-classifiable responses, data may not sum to the totals.

Feb 19th 2020 Society for Trauma Education and Empowered Recovery