I recall having come across a similar claim
, but from a different source, published in Chemical & Engineering News in 2013:
In the link above, three executives from Dow Chemical, Corning and Dupont claim that "Occupational Safety & Health Administration statistics demonstrate that researchers are 11 times more likely to get hurt in an academic
lab than in an industrial lab."
I have tried to verify this claim using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from 2014 to obtain injury, illness and fatality data specific to the NAICS
code 61 for the educational services industry sector
. However, this category includes not only institutions of higher learning, but also elementary and secondary schools. The best I could come up with were injury
rates per 100
full-time workers based on industry. Chemical manufacturing (NAICS code 325) had 2.3 total cases per 100 full-time workers in 2014. Compare this to educational services, where the rate is 2.1(private), 2.1 (state) and 4.1 (local government).
These numbers agree with the findings
of the UC Center for Laboratory Safety (which used BLS data from 2011) reported here:
I've found that the BLS has what seems to be a new tool
which can be used to generate a data table based on incident, injury, industry and other characteristics. But even then, it does not seem that the BLS data
narrows down statistics specific to academic laboratory activities.
Another data source is a report from the Centers for Disease Control, which has published a summary of "acute chemical incidents" reported by 9 states during the period 1999-2008. According to this report, data was
collected that would enable researchers to describe the public health consequences of chemical releases and to develop activities aimed at reducing the harm from such releases. Similar to the BLS statistics, the data was categorized according to NAICS industry
classifications. The results show that the number of injured persons in the educational services category is comparable with the number in chemical manufacturing, which seems to corroborate the BLS statistics. The citation for that report is:
CDC Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, MMWR Surveillance Summaries / Vol. 64 / No. 2 April 10, 2015 / No. SS-2: Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance, Nine States, 1999-2008.
It is conceivable that there is underreporting, but the statistics from the above sources do not support the claims made in the statements.
I hope this helps you with your report.