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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Continue to Decline

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  has reported that there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015, which occurred at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.

The 2015 rate continues a pattern of declines that, apart from 2012, occurred annually for the last 13 years. Private industry employers reported nearly 48,000 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2015 compared to a year earlier, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). Because of this decline, combined with an increase in reported hours worked, the total recordable cases (TRC) incidence rate fell 0.2 cases per 100 full-time workers. 

The fall in the TRC rate was driven by a decline in the rate of cases involving days away from work (DAFW) and other recordable cases (ORC)—each falling 0.1 cases—as the rate for cases of job transfer or restriction only (DJTR) has remained at 0.7 cases since 2011.

Beginning with the 2016 reference year, the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) will present a single release of national data on November 9, 2017. This release will include industry counts and rates along with case circumstances and worker characteristics for cases requiring days away from work; in previous years, these data were released separately. State data will be released on November 28, 2017. A similar schedule will be followed in subsequent years.

A question remains whether this decline will continue based upon the reduction of safety and environmental regulations that the Trump administration is proposing. Also of concern is whether the decline in the manufacturing sector in the US will have an impact on the statistics going forward.