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Which occupations have the highest rates of injury and illness?

Workplace injuries and illnesses can occur without warning in almost any occupation, but some jobs carry a higher risk for these instances than others. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 3 million instances of injuries and illness took place in the country during 2020, and while this number fell from the previous year, it still caused many workers to take time off from their jobs to recover.

Those concerned about the risk of illness and injury in their chosen occupational fields may want to review these recent statistics and discover which jobs carry the highest rates.


health care workers

The nursing field carries the highest instance of injuries and illness, with nursing assistants suffering the most instances of both. The registered nursing sector also saw an increase in days missed due to work-related injuries and sickness including slip-and-fall incidents, sprains and strains and respiratory illnesses.

Truck drivers

truck driver getting out of his rig

Individuals who drive large trucks and tractor-trailers for a living also see a significant number of injuries and illnesses that either result in workman’s compensation cases or missed workdays. Loading and unloading cargo, long hours behind the wheel and the risk of roadway accidents may account for the physical risks related to this field.

Stock movers

male warehouse stock worker

Workers who spend their days moving and organizing stock run the risk of physical injuries that include muscle strain, tendonitis and even crushing injuries. While the rate of these instances did not increase in 2020, the industry still remains one of the riskiest for employees.

Women and workers over the age of 65 tend to carry the most risk for work-related injuries and illness. Improved safety regulations and practices may help reduce these dangers in the future.

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