Local U.S. textile rental operations are marking National Safety Month (June) by leading their communities in recognizing the progress American businesses have made in ensuring workplace safety, according to a press release from the Textile Rental Services Association of America (TRSA). TRSA members are publicizing the results of the association’s analysis that adds local flavor to national data on how industries have decreased illness and injury cases.

The Work Safety Regional Statistical Analysis (Work SafeTRSA) measures national trends in total reportable cases (TRC) and adapts them to U.S. metropolitan areas. The statistic weighs the national safety record of each type of business represented in a community in accordance with each industry’s importance as a local employer. Thus, regional economies dominated by office jobs will have a lower Work SafeTRSA. But every community, regardless of the type of business activity there, will likely show a reduction.

“Textile rental companies have pushed hard to better equip their facilities and build greater conscientiousness about working safely. We know industry as a whole has done the same thing,” said Charlie Sewell, TRSA’s vice president of government affairs. “Every day, our members deliver products to workplaces that enhance employee safety. TRSA companies serve all kinds of local businesses and have witnessed economy-wide improvement in this respect.”

The Work SafeTRSA uses the most recently reported federal TRC rates for each of the major industry divisions that define the broad scope of work performed by private U.S. companies. The largest such divisions — in terms of the total number of U.S. job — are trade/transportation/utilities (TTU), education/health, professional/business services, leisure/hospitality, and manufacturing. These industries each employ at least 13 million people; TTU has twice that many. Industries with less than 10 million employees are construction, financial/real estate, information, other services, and natural resources/mining.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has calculated a national TRC rate for each industry classification. For example, the construction industry’s national TRC fell from 6.8 to 4.7 between 2003 and 2008 (the most recent year for which BLS has calculated TRCs). TRSA compiled a Work SafeTRSA for each of the Top 100 metropolitan areas by weighing these rates in accordance with the prevalence of each industry in each local economy.

Over this 5-year period, the U.S. economy-wide TRC has fallen from 5.0 to 3.9 cases per year per 100 full-time workers. Thus, the national Work SafeTRSA is about 78 — down 22 percent from the 2003 baseline of 100. Sewell added, “There is much speculation that safety statistics are not reliable indicators, that too many incidents are not counted. No reporting system is perfect. What counts is how people react to ratings and improve their individual anticipation and self-policing of safety problems. Better performance in this endeavor is something we all should work toward and demand from our workplaces and communities.”