The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics today announced that nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers declined in 2009 to a rate of 3.6 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, down from a total case rate of 3.9 in 2008. BLS also reported a decline in the total number of cases from 3.7 million in 2008 to 3.3 million in 2009. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement:
“While the reported decline in workplace injuries and illnesses is encouraging, 3.3 million workplace injuries and illnesses are 3.3 million too many. No worker should fear being injured or made sick for a paycheck.
“Complete and accurate workplace injury records can serve as the basis for employer programs to investigate injuries and prevent future occurrences. Most employers understand this and do their best to prevent worker injuries, but some do not. That is why my department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is aggressively working to ensure the completeness and accuracy of injury data compiled by the nation’s employers. We are concerned about the widespread existence of programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries, and we will continue to issue citations and penalties to employers that intentionally under-report workplace injuries.
“Too many Americans suffer each year from preventable injuries or illnesses they received while on the job. Even in these difficult economic times, we must keep in mind that no job is a good job unless it’s a safe job.”