Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Continue to Decline; OSHA Schedules Hearing on Electronic Reporting Proposal

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) annual Workplace Injury and Illness Summary, private sector employers reported approximately 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2012, or about 3.4 instances per 100 full-time equivalent workers, down from 3.5 instances per 100 workers reported in 2011.  This data is in keeping with the steady decline of reported injury and illness rates over the past five years. 

The incidence rate of just injuries in the private sector declined to 3.2 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2012, a decrease from 3.3 per 100 in 2011.  The incidences of serious injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, job transfer, or job restriction – called the DART rate – remained steady in 2012.  The BLS data indicated also that no one particular industry experienced an increase in injury or illness rates for 2012.  Other key findings include the following:

  • Manufacturing was the only private industry sector in 2012 in which the rate of job transfer or restriction only cases stemming from injuries/illnesses exceeded the rate of cases resulting in days away from work, continuing a 15-year trend.
  • Of the 3 million reported cases, the vast majority (more than 2.8 million) involved nonfatal occupational injuries.  More than 75% of such injuries occurred in service-providing industries.
  • Industries with the most frequent reports of workplace illnesses were goods-producing industries (34.3%) and manufacturing (29.5%).
  • Injury and illness rates, although relatively unchanged from 2011, were significantly higher for public sector workers, with 5.6 cases per 100 full-time workers. 

Detailed tables and statistics included in the BLS summary can be found here.

OSHA Hearing

In other recent developments, OSHA has scheduled a public hearing to discuss its  proposed revisions to employer injury and illness recordkeeping requirements. The proposed rule would require employers to submit their injury and illness survey data electronically, which would then be made publicly available.  The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, January 9, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, DC.  More information about attending the hearing, or participating as a speaker, can be found in the Federal Register notice.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.