Workers Comp Safety: Workplace Injuries, Illnesses Decline in 2013


Workers Comp Safety: Workplace Injuries, Illnesses Decline in 2013

The latest survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites the number of reported workplace injuries and illnesses in the private sector continues to decline. Not to say that the number is still not high. According to the agency’s 2013 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, 3 million workers were injured, of which more than half suffered a serious injury or illness.

“We are encouraged that the rates continue to decline over the past few years, even during this period of healthy economic growth when we would expect the rate of injuries to rise,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Why the decrease in injury rate? According to Michaels, it’s a result of “a product of tireless work by those employers, unions, worker advocates and occupational safety and health professionals all coupled with the efforts of federal and state government organizations that make worker safety and health a high priority each and every day.”

Still, more than half of the 3 million private industry injury and illness cases reported in 2013 were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer or restriction (Days Away and Restricted Time (DART) cases). According to BLS, injuries accounted for 2.9 million out of 3 million reported injuries and illnesses. The severity of injuries and illnesses varied widely – from amputees to back injuries.

Moreover, among injuries the injuries, over 2.1 million (75.5%) occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 82.4% of the private industry workforce. The remaining 0.7 million injuries (24.5%) occurred in goods-producing which accounted for 17.6% of private industry employment in 2013.

The BLS reports that workplace illnesses accounted for just over 5% of the reported injury and illness cases in 2013. Goods-producing industries accounted for 34.4% of all occupational illness cases in 2013.

As we discussed previously, OSHA reporting requirements will change effective January 1, 2015. Employers will be responsible for reporting all fatal work injuries within eight hours, and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. The agency also has updated the list of industries required to keep injury and illness records.

Safety on the job is paramount and can make a real difference for both employees and employers. Not only do safety programs mitigate the risk of injuries, employees are more productive, and there is a decrease in absenteeism and improved Workers’ Compensation premiums. Caitlin Morgan specializes in offering Workers’ Comp solutions along with risk management and safety programs and can help you insure your clients. We can provide everything from guaranteed cost plans to captives and self-insurance programs. Give us a call at 877.226.1027.

Sources: BLS, EHS Today