The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced yesterday that nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers declined in 2010 to a rate of 3.5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, down from a total case rate of 3.6 in 2009. Nearly 3.1 million injuries and illnesses were reported among private sector industry employers in 2010, down from 3.3 million reported in 2009.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said workplace injury and illness rates were still too high -- especially in certain industries.
"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, and this group of workers had one of the highest rates of injuries and illness at 5.2 cases for every 100 workers."
She also noted that the rate for public sector workers, which at 5.7 cases for every 100 workers is more than 60% higher than the private sector, remains "alarmingly" high.
Solis said the BLS report highlights the importance of accurate record keeping. "Employers must know what injuries and illnesses are occurring in their workplaces in order to identify and correct systemic issues that put their workers at risk. We are concerned with poor record-keeping practices and programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries and illnesses. That's why OSHA is working hard to ensure the completeness and accuracy of these data, which are compiled by the nation's employers."