BLS Annual Report on Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Released

BLS Annual Report on Workplace Injuries and Illnesses ReleasedEvery year the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases a report summarizing data from the previous year’s reported workplace illnesses and injuries. The latest edition, released in December 2014, revealed that private employers reported slightly more than 3 million nonfatal workplace illnesses and injuries in 2013. This is an incidence rate of 3.3 illnesses or injuries per 100 equivalent full-time workers, a number that illustrates a continuation of the decline in incidents seen over the last 11 years.

General Data

More than 50 percent of the more 3 million cases private employers reported in 2013 were serious enough to require days away from work, job transfer or restriction. These cases—also known as DART cases for days away/restricted or job transfer—occurred at a rate of 1.7 per 100 full-time workers. This was a statistically significant decrease from 2012 when the DART rate was 1.8, and is the first decline since 2009.

There were 1.4 million other recordable nonfatal injury and illness incidents that did not require days away from work, job transfer or restriction. These cases occurred at a rate of 1.6 per 100 full-time workers, unchanged from 2012’s 1.6 rate.

The rate of total reported cases of illness and injury was highest among private businesses employing between 50 and 249 workers. The BLS found the lowest incidence rate among companies employing fewer than 11 workers. The manufacturing, retail trade and utilities industries all experienced a significant decline in incident rate in 2013. However, the incident rate was statistically unchanged among all other private industries.

Injury Data

Almost 2.9 million of the more than 3 million reported nonfatal workplace incidents in 2013 were injuries. More than 75 percent of these injuries occurred in service-providing industries including wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation, warehousing, information, finance, insurance, real estate, education, leisure and hospitality. These industries employ more than 82 percent of the private industry workforce.

Goods-producing industries—such as natural resources/mining, construction and manufacturing—accounted for nearly 25 percent of the reported injuries. These industries employ almost 18 percent of the private industry workforce.

Illness Data

Around 153,000 of the more than 3 million reported nonfatal workplace incidents in 2013 were illnesses. The rate of workplace illness was 16.6 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2013, a number that was not statistically different from 2012’s 17.3 illness incident rate. Goods-producing industries accounted for 34.4 percent of the reported workplace illness incidents. Service-providing industries accounted for 65.6 percent.

While no one can prevent every potential workplace illness or injury, a comprehensive workplace safety program can help you decrease your own company’s incident rate. Whether you would like assistance establishing such a program or need some insight into improving the one you have, we are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your workplace safety needs.

 

 

OSHA Expanded Fatality/Serious Injury Reporting Rule

OSHA Expanded Fatality/Serious Injury Reporting Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently expanded requirements for reporting fatalities and serious injuries in the workplace. The revised rule—that went into effect on January 1—also includes updates to the list of industries partially exempt from workplace illness and injury record-keeping requirements.

When OSHA announced the new rule in 2014, Thomas E. Perez, the U.S. Secretary of Labor, stated, “Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them.”

Reporting of Fatalities and Serious Injuries

Revisions to previous rules now require employers to notify OSHA of any work-related fatality within eight hours. They have 24 hours to report work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or accidents involving the loss of an eye. Previously, reporting requirements were limited to fatalities and hospitalizations of three or more employees. The report of single hospitalizations, amputations or eye-loss injuries was not required.

To ease employers’ administrative burden, OSHA has established three methods for reporting incidents. If one of your employees is killed, hospitalized or suffers an accident causing amputation or eye loss, you can report the event by telephone during normal business hours to your local OSHA office (find the location and number at www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html). You can also call the 24-hour OSHA hotline (at 1-800-321-OSHA) or submit your report online at www.osha.gov/report_online.

Work-Related Illness and Injury Record-keeping

Depending on the size of your company, or your industry, you may be exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements for work-related illnesses and injuries. Employers with 10 or fewer employees are always exempt from records maintenance rules. Employers on the new list of partially exempt industries are also not required to maintain workplace illness and injury records.

While the Standard Industrial Classification system was the basis for the old list of exemptions, OSHA created the new list using the North American Industry Classification System and updated injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Partially exempt industries include gasoline stations, florists, most retail stores, most publishers and broadcasters, banks, insurance carriers, real estate, legal services, business support services, schools, restaurants and other low-risk industries as determined by OHSA. You can find a complete list at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/ppt1/RK1exempttable.html.

All employers, including those partially exempt due to company size or industry classification, must still report any workplace incident that results in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye—even if they’re not required to maintain records of illnesses and injuries.

If you’d like more information on the new OSHA reporting and record-keeping rule, you can find additional details at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014. For further insight into how these changes may impact your business, or assistance with updating your workplace safety program, give me a call.