Occupational injuries and illness in the wholesale and retail trade sector

Wholesale and retail trade sector occupational fatal and nonfatal injuries and illnesses from 2006 to 2016: Implications for intervention

Authors: Putz Anderson V, Schulte PA, Novakovich J, Pfirman D, Bhattacharya A


We analyzed the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) fatal and nonfatal injuries and illness data on U.S. workers in the wholesale and retail trade (WRT) sector from 2006 to 2016. The purpose was to identify elevated fatal and nonfatal injury and illness rates in WRT subsectors.


To assess the WRT health and economic burden, we retrieved multiple BLS data sets for fatal and nonfatal injury and illness data, affecting more than 20 million employees. We examined yearly changes in incidence rates for lost work-time across event and exposure categories.


In 2016, 553 100 injuries and illnesses and 461 fatalities occurred among WRT workers. WRT has a disproportionately 5% larger burden of nonfatal injuries for its size. From 2006 through 2016, wholesale sector fatality rates (4.9/100 000 FTE) exceeded private industry rates (3.8/100 000 FTE). The largest causal fatal factors were transportation in wholesale and violence in retail. Private industry and WRT experienced a decline in nonfatal injuries and illnesses. Wholesale subsectors with elevated nonfatal rates included durable and nondurable goods, recycling, motor parts, lumber, metal and mineral, grocery, and alcohol merchants. Retail subsectors with elevated rates included motor parts dealers, gasoline stations, nonstores, tire dealers, home and garden centers, supermarkets, meat markets, warehouse clubs, pet stores, and fuel dealers.


Through the identification of safety and health risks, research