In an October 21 press release, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an encouraging decline in workplace injuries and illnesses.Across much of the U.S., workers compensation claims are down in many industries, particularly construction.Among private employers, nonfatal accidents declined to a rate of 3.6 cases for every 100 full-time workers in 2009, down from 3.9 per 100 in 2008. BLS also announced a drop in the total number of cases in the U.S., which declined from 3.7 million in 2008 to 3.3 million in 2009.
“While the reported decline in workplace injuries and illnesses is encouraging, 3.3 million workplace injuries and illnesses are 3.3 million too many,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.“No worker should fear being injured or made sick for a paycheck.”
Solis emphasized the importance of thorough and accurate reporting in the case of workplace injuries.Solid record-keeping for workers compensation claims, she stated, can “serve as the basis for employer programs to investigate injuries and prevent future occurrences.”The Labor Secretary indicated that most employers recognize this obligation and do their best to correct conditions in which worker injuries occur, but pointed out that too many still do not. “That is why my department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is aggressively working to ensure the completeness and accuracy of injury data compiled by the nation’s employers. We are concerned about the widespread existence of programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries, and we will continue to issue citations and penalties to employers that intentionally under-report workplace injuries.”
Solis concluded the press release by reiterating the importance of adherence to workers’ compensation guidelines and regulations that prevent workplace injury.“Too many Americans suffer each year from preventable injuries or illnesses they received while on the job. Even in these difficult economic times, we must keep in mind that no job is a good job unless it’s a safe job.”