Workplace injury and illness rates declined in 2000, to the lowest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began reporting this data in the early 1970s, according to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, who released a statement this week about the 2000 Injury and Illness data from the BLS.

"This data shows that our nation's workplaces continue to become safer and healthier each year," said Chao. "While the number of injuries and illness cases remained basically the same as reported in 1999 - 5.7 million - the number of hours worked rose by two percent, resulting in a lower injury and illness rate of 6.1 cases per 100 workers."

Chao also noted that injury and illness rates in more dangerous occupations such as construction and manufacturing also continued to decline.

Proper enforcement of health and safety standards, along with OSHA's model compliance assistance program, will help this positive trend continue, Chao added.