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Workplace injuries on the decline

Pennsylvanians may be interested to learn that a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the number of workplace injury accidents are declining in all sectors, although the rates for public workers remain significantly higher than the injury and illness rates for private employees. According to the statistics, 3 million workers suffered a work-related injury or illness in 2013, a significant decline from those injured in 2012 and one that continues a trend of decline that has lasted for the past 11 years.

Statisticians believe part of the trend of falling injury and illness rates is due to increased regulation and oversight of workplaces by state and federal agencies. The number of injuries and illnesses equates to an incidence rate of 3.3 for every 100 full time workers in the country.

Across various sectors, injury rates fell significantly in the retail, manufacturing and private utilities sectors. Public employees of both local and state governments reported slightly fewer injuries, declining from 2012's incidence rate of 5.6 injuries per 100 workers to 5.2 in 2013. Although this represents a statistical decline, more public workers are injured or become ill while working on the job than workers in private industry sectors.

The declining injury and illness rates are good news for Pennsylvania's workers. As employers implement improved safety measures, policies and procedures, the rates may hopefully continue the trend of decline. Because the prevalence of workplace injuries is so high, Pennsylvania, like all other states, mandates that employers carry workers' compensation insurance to protect their workers in the event they are injured or become ill due to their work. When a worker is injured on the job, he or she may thus file a claim with his or her employer's workers' compensation carrier in order to try to recover losses associated with the injury or illness.

Source: OH&S, "Three Million Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in 2013: BLS", December 05, 2014

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