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November 18, 2010

Reported Workplace Injury / Illness Dropped in 2009

Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers declined in 2009 to a rate of 3.6 cases per 100 full-time workers - down from 3.9 cases in 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported.

Key findings from the 2009 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses:
  • The manufacturing sector reported the largest year-to-year decline in injuries and illnesses since NAICS was introduced in 2003 - falling by 161,100 cases (23%) from 2008 to 2009 to a rate of 4.3 cases per 100 workers.
  • The construction sector reported 71,700 fewer cases in 2009, compared to 2008 - a 22 percent decline, lowering the incidence rate to 4.3.
  • Slightly more than one-half of the 3.3 million private industry injury and illness cases reported nationally in 2009 were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer, or Restriction - commonly referred to as DART cases
  • Injuries accounted for about 3.1 million (94.9 percent) of injury and illness cases.
While the decline in injury/illness cases seems promising, OSHA leaders and others are less than impressed, commenting that 3.3 million cases are still too many, and expressing concern about the widespread existence of programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries. Work-related illness is also a point of debate, due to the extended time between initial workplace exposures and onset of the related illness.

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