While there’s good news to report in the federal government’s annual tally of workplace injuries and illnesses, the statistics also point to places where employers need to improve on this front.
Private industry employers reported slightly more than 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2013. The incidence rate was 3.3 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, down from 3.4 in 2011 and 2012. The rate has declined each of the last 11 years with the exception of 2012.
The incidence rate for more serious cases – those requiring days away from work, job transfer or restriction known as DART cases – also declined to 1.7 from 1.8 where the rate had held steady from 2009 through 2012.
However, over half of the private industry injuries and illnesses were DART cases.
Some other key findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) report:
- Injury and illness rates declined significantly among the manufacturing, retail and utilities sectors
- The injury rate remained highest among mid-size private industry facilities employing 50 to 249 workers and lowest among small establishments with fewer than 11 workers, and
- Of the 3+ million injuries and illnesses, over 2.1 million (75.5%) occurred in service industries which employed 82.4% of the workforce; the remaining 0.7 million injuries (24.5%) occurred in goods-producing industries which employed 17.6% of the workforce.
Over time, most of the overall injury rates have fallen (see Charts 1 and 2).
Injury rates for government workers are higher than for private industry (see Chart 3). BLS also reported the injury rates for 41 of the 50 states and Washington, DC (see Chart 4).