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Frequently Asked Questions

Our annual compilation of statistics on unintentional injuries, costs, trends and other characteristics is presented in Injury Facts®. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to this information.


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Costs of Unintentional Injuries
NSC's Research & Statistical Services Department prepares an annual bulletin to help you estimate the costs associated with unintentional injuries. It is intended to be used by communities to estimate their costs. It contains estimates of the per-case costs of fatal and nonfatal injuries in each of the four classes (Work, Motor-Vehicle, Home and Public). The bulletin is called Estimating the Costs of Unintentional Injuries and is updated each year, usually in February. All of the National Safety Council's cost estimates are available in the 2014 edition of Injury Facts®.

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Occupational Injury and Illness Incidence Rates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes average incidence rates for injuries and illnesses by NAICS code. Quartile incidence rates by industry and size of establishment are also published. All of these rates and other data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries may be found at Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Injury and illness frequency data and incidence rates from the BLS for selected industries are also published in Injury Facts®.

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Benchmarking Injury and Illness Incidence Rates
A procedure to benchmark against national average incidence rates is given in the 2014 edition of Injury Facts® on pages 76 and 77. Also see the question on Occupational Injury and Illness Incidence Rates.

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Most Dangerous Industry
In terms of death rates by industries, the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry topped the death rates in 2012 with 20.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers, higher than mining with 15.3, transportation and warehousing with 11.9, and construction with 9.2. See page 58 in the 2014 edition of Injury Facts®.

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Off-the-Job Injuries
“Off-the-job” injuries are injuries that involve employed people when they are not working. For example, a restaurant cook cuts his hand on a knife while fixing dinner at home or a truck driver who slides off an icy road while driving his car to work, hits a tree, and suffers a sprained wrist. These injuries occurred off-the-job. If similar injuries had occurred while in the restaurant or driving a truck, they would have been on-the-job injuries. If the cook and the truck driver had been retired, then the injuries would have been neither on-the-job nor off-the-job because the people were not employed. They would have been classified and nonwork injuries. Off-the-job injuries are of concern to employers because NSC statistics show that for each on-the-job death due to unintentional injuries there are about thirteen off-the-job deaths of workers due to unintentional injuries. And for each on-the-job injury involving lost time there are about three off-the-job injuries. There are about four times as many days lost from work due to off-the-job injuries as for on-the-job. Employers have to deal with the same disruptions to production and work schedules whether the injury occurred at work or away from work. See page 63 of the 2014 edition of Injury Facts®. for more statistics on off-the-job injuries and comparisons to on-the job injuries.

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Preventable Traffic Crashes
According to the Council's Guide to Determine Motor Vehicle Accident Preventability, the definition is: A preventable accident is one in which the driver failed to do everything that reasonably could have been done to avoid the crash. In other words, when a driver commits errors and/or fails to react reasonably to the errors of others, the Council considers an accident to be preventable. When a driver commits no errors and reacts reasonably to the errors of others, the Council considers the accident to be nonpreventable. Decisions on preventability should be made in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Guide, which contains guidelines for preventability of specific types of accidents and many case studies.

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NSC Holiday Periods for Traffic Fatalities
The National Safety Council makes estimates of the number of traffic fatalities that could occur over selected holiday periods in order to illustrate the risks of holiday highway travel. The estimates are not meant to scare people into staying off the roads, rather to make them informed of the risks so that they can be prepared.  The number of holiday related motor-vehicle deaths from 2008 through 2012 is available in the 2014 edition of Injury Facts®.

2014 Holiday Periods

The National Safety Council will issue estimates of the number of traffic fatalities that could occur over the following holiday periods. The estimate will be released about one to two weeks before the holiday period begins.

New Year's Day (2014) Begins 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 31, 2013
  Ends 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Memorial Day* Begins 6:00 p.m., Friday, May 23
  Ends 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 26
Independence Day Begins 6:00 p.m., Thursday, July 3
  Ends 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 6
Labor Day** Begins 6:00 p.m., Friday, August 29
  Ends 11:59 p.m., Monday, September 1
Thanksgiving Day*** Begins 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 26
  Ends 11:59 p.m., Sunday, November 30
Christmas Day Begins 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 24
  Ends 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 28
New Year's Day (2015) Begins 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 31, 2014
  Ends 11:59 p.m., Sunday, January 4, 2015

* Observed on the last Monday in May.
** Observed on the first Monday in September.
*** Observed on the fourth Thursday in November.


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Most Dangerous Mode of Transportation
Injury Facts® compares four modes of transportation: scheduled airlines, railroad passenger trains (including Amtrak and commutation), buses, and light duty vehicles (includes passenger cars, light trucks, vans and sports utility vehicles regardless of wheelbase). In general, buses, trains and airlines have much lower death rates than light duty vehicles when the risk is expressed as passenger deaths per passenger mile of travel. (Light duty vehicle drivers are considered passengers but operators and crew of planes, trains and buses are not.) In 2011, the passenger death rate in light duty vehicles was 0.48 per 100 million passenger-miles. The rates for buses, trains and airlines were 0.06, 0.03, and 0.00 respectively.

See page 156 in the 2014 edition of Injury Facts®.

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Odds of Dying
See What are the Odds of Dying? for a brief summary of the approximate annual and lifetime odds of dying from various unintentional-injury events. The one-year odds of dying ranged from about 1 in 8,200 in a transportation accident to about 1 in 12,000,000 from being unintentionally exposed to the explosion and rupture of pressurized devices. Lifetime odds of dying from any unintentional cause are about 1 in 33.

For a complete listing of both the one year odds and lifetime odds of dying please see pages 40 through 43 of the 2014 edition of Injury Facts®.  For a brief overview of the Odds of Dying, visit the Odds of Dying From... page.

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Children Killed by Guns
How many children are killed by guns is a complicated question. The answer depends on a number of factors, including age range, and whether homicide, suicide and/or unintentional-injuries are included in the figure. If the age range is 0-19 years, and homicide, suicide, and unintentional injuries are included, then the total firearms-related deaths for 2010 is 2,711. This is equivalent to over 7 deaths per day, a figure commonly used by journalists. The 2,711 firearms-related deaths for age group 0-19 breaks down to 134 unintentional, 749 suicides, 1,773 homicides, 38 for which the intent could not be determined, and 17 due to legal intervention. Viewed by age group, 82 of the total firearms-related deaths were of children under 5-years-old, 298 were children 5-14 years old, and 2,331 were teens and young adults 15-19 years old.

See page 155 of the 2014 edition of Injury Facts®.

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Seasonal Patterns of Unintentional Injury Deaths
As shown on page 23 of Injury Facts® 2014 Edition, several unintentional-injury events have seasonal patterns. Drowning deaths show a strong seasonal pattern ­­- high in the summer, low in winter. Deaths from fires and flames show an equally strong but opposite seasonal pattern ­­ low in summer, high in winter.  Motor-vehicle crash deaths also have a pattern. (See page 129).

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Sports Injury Rates
Sports Injury Rates
are not available.

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