Report: workplace injuries down, severity up

We often discuss the dangers of workplace injuries and the role workplace safety efforts have on the risk of being injured at work. Workplace injuries happen all the time in Pennsylvania and can be very devastating. A new report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has some good news and bad news for workers across the United States.

The good news is that nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses have declined in 2012. However, the severity of workplace injuries has increased. The BLS reported that there were 112 cases of work injuries and illnesses for every 10,000 full-time workers last year, a decrease from 117 cases from 2011.

The decline in workplace injuries and illnesses is good news, but the finding that the severity of injuries has increased is troubling. The BLS reported that injured workers missed nine days of work last year, an increase from eight reported in 2011.

While this may seem like a small increase, any increase is a sign that workers are suffering more serious injuries in the workplace. The BLS also reported on what industries were the most dangerous for workers in the U.S.

They said that the manufacturing industry has a high rate of workplace injuries compared to other industries. Workers with less experience have a higher risk of being injured at work. Workers in the private-sector of the manufacturing industry with less than three months of experience had an eight percent increase in injuries last year, compared to a five percent increase for workers with three to 11 months of experience. The BLS said that many of the injuries were in the retail sector.

The increase in injuries and the severity of those injuries could mean that workplaces are not as safe as they used to be. It could also mean that new workers are not being properly trained on hazards in the workplace. Companies need to be aware of the dangers workers face and take steps to reduce the risk of injuries and accidents to keep everyone safe.

Source: Tire Business, “U.S. workplace injury rate decline but severity up,” Nov. 27, 2013