Workplace Injuries, Illnesses Declined for 6th Consecutive Year in 2007
The agency issued its 2007 workplace injury and illness rate data. According to the BLS, nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers occurred at a rate of 4.2 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers -- a decline from 4.4 cases in 2006. Similarly, the number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported in 2007 declined to 4 million cases, compared to 4.1 million cases in 2006.
Officials said the total recordable case injury and illness incidence rate among private industry employers has declined significantly -- by 0.2 cases per 100 workers -- each year since 2003, when estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses were first published using the 2002 North American Industry Classification System.
"The 21 percent decline in the workplace injury and illness rate over the past six years and a 4.5 percent decline over the past year show the effectiveness of the strategy of targeted enforcement coupled with prevention through compliance assistance to promote a culture of safety at the workplace," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
Key findings of the survey.
The latest report is the second in a series of three releases from the BLS covering occupational safety and health statistics in 2007. This study follows an August report on workplace fatalities. A third release, which is due later this year, will provide information on cases requiring at least one day away from work to recuperate.
Among the highlights of the study, researchers found that:
--The total recordable incidence rate was the lowest since 2002 when recordkeeping requirements were revised. Officials said the decline is similar to that seen from 1972 to 2001, prior to the recordkeeping revisions.
--Incidence rates and number of injuries and illnesses fell for several case types. The incidence rates and numbers of cases for injuries and illnesses combined declined significantly in 2007 for total recordable cases; cases with days away from work, job transfer or restriction; cases with days away from work; and cases with job transfer or restriction. The incidence rate and number of cases for other recordable cases remained relatively unchanged, officials said.
--The total recordable case injury and illness incidence rates declined among five of the 19 industry sectors. Those sectors included agriculture; forestry; fishing and hunting; mining; construction; manufacturing; health care; and social assistance. The total recordable case injury and illness incidence rates remained statistically unchanged in the remaining 14 industry sectors. General medical and surgical hospitals reported more injuries and illnesses -- more than 253,500 cases -- than any other industry in 2007.
--Service-providing industries account for the majority of injuries and illnesses. Approximately 3.8 million (94.8 percent) of the 4 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2007 were injuries. Of these injuries, 2.6 million (69.6 percent) occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 79.5 percent of the private industry workforce covered by the survey.
--Workplace illnesses accounted for fewer than 6 percent of the 4 million injury and illness cases. Private industry employers reported 21,700 fewer illness cases in 2007 -- down to 206,300 cases compared to 228,000 in 2006. This resulted in a decline in the rate of workplace illnesses in 2007 from 24.6 to 21.8 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
Goods-producing industries as a whole accounted for approximately 41 percent of all occupational illness cases but were responsible for more than 60 percent of the decline in illnesses reported among private industry workplaces in 2007. The manufacturing sector accounted for 34 percent of all occupational illnesses cases and reported nearly 11,000 fewer illnesses in 2007 compared to 2006.
--The total recordable case injury and illness incidence rate was highest among midsize establishments. Midsize establishments were defined as those employing between 50 and 249 workers. The total recordable case injury and illness incidence rate was the lowest among small establishments -- those employing fewer than 11 workers.
November 17, 2008
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