Feb 2018

Workplace Injuries and Illnesses on the Decline

Rhode Island workers' compensationThe Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data on workplace injuries and illnesses for 2016. These results continued a downward trend in overall reports that began in 2004, only interrupted in 2012 when the overall numbers did not change. While this information is highly encouraging on the surface, a deeper study shows that there is actually very little, if any, change in significant sets of available data.

Workplace Injury and Illness Rates

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report tracks five types of workplace injuries and illnesses among private employers. Two of those five showed a decrease, including the overall number, leaving the other three unchanged. Those other three, however, included cases with job transfer or restriction, which have remained the same for six years in a row. Cases with at least one day of work lost, however, have only held a value of 0.9 per 100 full-time worker equivalents for two years in a row. The combined dataset of just those two values also remained unchanged this year. In fact, all the change seen on the graph is directly the result of a slight decrease in other recordable cases. On the positive side, these numbers, taken together and compared to changes in public employment numbers, resulted in a reduction of total actual injuries and illnesses. In 2015, there were 3.66 million workplace injuries and illnesses reported, while 2016 saw 3.53 million.

The administrator of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration from December 2010 through January 2017, David Michaels, expressed concern to Bloomberg Environment. He stated that, “Whether it is 3 million, 4 million, or 5 million, it is unacceptable.” He also noted that BLS has done research into the actual accuracy of their numbers, and found a problem. Namely, when compared to workers’ compensation claims and emergency room reports, employers appear to be downplaying the number of workplace injuries and illnesses they actually encounter per year.

While there is a lot of room for improvement still, we can celebrate declining numbers of workplace injuries and illnesses overall. As long as there are still workplace accidents, the victims of those accidents need the help of professionals who understand the responsibility of employers to maintain safe working conditions and care about getting you the results you deserve.

In the event of a workplace injury or illness, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl and find out what we can do for you.

Comments are closed.