Overall injury rates decline in 2015

Recent News Release from the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics – overall injury rates were down in 2015

The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics puts out estimates of counts and incidence rates of employer-reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses by industry and type of case annually. The following highlights were posted on the US DOL BLS website in a 10/27/2016 News Release: Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses—2015.

Several interesting things to note:

  • Showing a continued decline, there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015. They occurred at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.
  • Private industry employers reported nearly 48,000 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2015 compared to a year earlier, which was driven in part by a decline in the rate of cases involving days away from work.
  • The rate of injuries and illnesses remained highest among mid-size private industry establishments and lowest among small establishments.
  • Service-providing industries accounted for 64.7 percent of private industry illness cases and had a rate of 12.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2015.
  • Goods-producing industries accounted for 35.4 percent of all occupational illness cases in 2015, resulting in an incidence rate of 24.6 cases per 10,000 full-time workers—down from the previous year.

Although not effectively tracked in these statistics, musculoskeletal injuries (often the consequence from over-exertion, poor design, overuse and/or repetitive tasks where there are also forces and awkward postures involved) continue to take a toll on employers, as is seen with the continued high incidence rates in the service-producing and goods-producing industries. An effective ergonomics process, good design and a strong safety culture can help to reduce those rates! There are many effective approaches, but it must start with an effective safety culture and strong support from management. Let’s get those numbers down!

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