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Injury and illness rates higher in special food services than in broader food services industry

October 30, 2019

Workers in the special food services industry experienced occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work at a rate of 107.6 per 10,000 full-time employees in 2017. This incidence rate was higher than the rate reported for all workers in food services and drinking places, 77.9. Special food services include caterers, food trucks, and food service contractors. The industry employs nearly 700,000 workers in the United States, out of 12 million in the broader food services and drinking places industry.

Incidence rates per 10,000 full-time workers for occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, selected food services industries, by nature of injury or illness, 2017
Industry Total Sprains,
Fractures Bruises,
Heat (thermal)

All private industry workers

89.4 31.5 9.0 8.5 8.0 1.4

Food services and drinking places

77.9 18.0 17.0 5.6 6.5 8.9

Special food services

107.6 40.6 12.3 9.2 10.7 8.5

Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)

38.3 2.5 5.3 1.7 3.7 2.0

Restaurants and other eating places

77.3 17.2 17.6 5.5 6.3 9.1

Workers in special food services had higher rates of several specific types of injuries. These include sprains, strains, and tears; cuts, lacerations, and punctures; and thermal burns. Thermal burns in special food services occurred at a rate of 8.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. That was more than four times the private industry average (1.4). Workers in restaurants and other eating places also experienced cuts, lacerations, and punctures and thermal burns at higher rates than workers across all private industries.

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see “Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses — 2017.” We will release 2018 data on nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses on Thursday, November 7, 2019.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Injury and illness rates higher in special food services than in broader food services industry at (visited June 20, 2024).

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