As calendar year 2015 comes to a close and 2016 begins, it’s a good time to look back on what is working and where there is room for improvement in terms of safety at the workplace.
New data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh.pdf) show mixed outcomes with respect to reducing the nation’s workplace injuries and illnesses as a whole. Though the overall numbers are down from 2013, there was little or no decrease in 2014 in what the BLS lists as more serious injury cases.
According to the BLS, the rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2014 was 3.2 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers (measured as total recordable cases, or TRC). In 2013, the rate was 3.3. The rate has gone down each year of the last 12, with the exception of 2012, when it was unchanged.
The days away from work, the rate of job transfer or restriction cases that involve more serious injuries rate stayed the same at 1.7. Other recordable cases went down from 1.6 to 1.5.
Private industries that saw a reduction in TRC in 2014 were retail, health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services.
The TRC was the highest (3.9) among mid-size private industry companies (those that employed 50 to 249 workers), and lowest (1.5) among small companies (defined as having fewer than 11 workers).
Most injuries (about 75%) happened in service industries, with 25% in good-producing industries. The latter accounted for 35.6% of all occupational illnesses in 2014.
Several industries showed TRC rates above the national average of 3.2. They were:
-State and local government: 5.0
-Education and health services: 4.2
-Natural resources and mining: 3.8
-Trade, transportation and utilities: 3.6, and
-Leisure and hospitality: 3.6.
Among states for which statistics are available for 2014, TRC rate for private industry declined in 10 states and was mainly unchanged in 31 states and the District of Columbia compared to the previous year. The TRC rate was higher in 19 states than the national average, was lower in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and about the same as the national rate in 8 states