Health care, social assistance report high rates of injuries and illnesses
The BLS' annual release shows there were 3.1 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses last year for a rate of 3.5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers -- down from the rate of 3.6 in 2009. Nevertheless, the rate for a couple of industries remained relatively high.
"We remain concerned that more workers are injured in the health care and social assistance industry sector than in any other, including construction and manufacturing," Solis said. "This group of workers had one of the highest rates of injuries and illness at 5.2 cases for every 100 workers."
In private construction, the rate of cases was 4.0 per 100 full-time workers, representing a 7 percent decline from 2009. Trade contractors were largely responsible for the overall decline.
Manufacturing was the sole private industry sector to experience an increase in the incidence rate, up to 4.4 cases from 4.3 in 2009. But the BLS said the increased rate "resulted from a larger decline in hours worked than the decline in the number of reported cases in the industry sector."
Also "alarming" to the secretary was the rate for public sector workers. The 5.2 cases for every 100 workers was more than 60 percent higher than the private sector rate. The vast majority of those -- four out of five -- were among local government workers, who had a rate of 6.1 cases per 100 full-time workers.
The incidence rate for injuries alone remained unchanged at 3.4 cases per 100 full-time workers. Among illnesses, the rates for specific categories remained relatively unchanged except for poisonings, whose rate increased to 0.3 from 0.2 per 100 full-time workers.
Additional findings from the BLS included:
- More than one-half of the 3.1 million injuries and illnesses in the private sector were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction. These occurred at a rate of 1.8 per 100 full-time workers, which was unchanged from 2009.
- Midsized private industry establishments, defined as those employing between 50 and 249 workers, had the highest incident rates of injuries and illnesses while companies with fewer than 11 workers had the lowest.
- More than three-quarters of the injuries occurred in service-providing industries, which employ more than 82 percent of the private sector workforce.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 28, 2011
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