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BLS: Worker injury rate in private sector falls again in 2015

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Washington – The national injury and illness rate for private-sector employees decreased in 2015, continuing a more than decade-long trend, according to data released Oct. 27 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reported non-fatal injuries and illnesses occurred at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2015, compared with 3.2 in 2014 and 3.3 in 2013. The rate has fallen each year for the past 13 years except in 2012, when the rate stayed the same as in 2011.

Approximately 2.9 million injuries and illnesses were reported in 2015. The six industries that experienced declines in injury and illness rates were:

  • Accommodation and food services
  • Finance and insurance
  • Health care and social assistance
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction
  • Transportation and warehousing

In the public sector, the rate rose slightly to 5.1 in 2015 from 5.0 the year before. About 80 percent of all public-sector injuries occurred among local government workers, whose injury rate climbed to 5.6 in 2015 from 5.4 the previous year.

This data release is the first in a series of three annual BLS reports. The next report, which BLS said it expects to release in November, will provide Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses estimates for case circumstances and worker characteristics for incidents that required at least one day away from work. The third report, scheduled to be released in December, will highlight Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries findings.

BLS injury and illness data includes estimates based on surveys completed by employers.

“We are encouraged to see the significant decline in worker injury and illness rates," OSHA administrator David Michaels said in a statement responding to the BLS report. "This is the result of the relentless efforts of employers, unions, worker advocates, occupational safety and health professionals, and federal and state government agencies ensuring that worker safety and health remains a top priority every day.

“Despite the decline, approximately 2.9 million private sector workers suffered nonfatal injuries and illnesses last year. That is still far too many. At OSHA, we will continue to do all that we can to continue driving the rate down,” Michaels said.

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