Workers Missed Fewer Days at Work Because of Injuries in 2015

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By Bruce Rolfsen

Nov. 10 — Workers suffered fewer injuries that kept them away from their jobs in 2015, according to a Nov. 10 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And when employees did miss time from work, the BLS says they were out for fewer days.

The 2015 rate for workers requiring days away from their jobs following a work-related injury or illness was 104.0 cases for every 10,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from the 2014 rate of 107.1, the BLS said. It was the fifth consecutive year the rate decreased from 117.9 in 2010.

The BLS report, based on the agency’s annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses of about 240,000 employers, is used by safety experts to compare industries and see how employers are performing matched up with their industry.

The report is the agency’s second review of workplace injuries and illness during 2015. On Oct. 27, the BLS issued a report looking at any injury or illness requiring more than first aid to treat. The two report’s findings largely parallel each other, showing decreasing rates while the number of workers expands.

One Injury, Eight Days

The median number of days workers missed while recovering declined to eight days—one day fewer than in 2014.

Among private employer industry groups, the highest incident rate was among transportation and warehousing, with a rate of 204.3; significantly down from 225.2 in 2014.

Rates for other industries include:

  •  construction: 134.8 (132.7 in 2014)
  •  natural resources and mining: 126.8 (133.0)
  •  health care and social assistance 113.6 (121.3)
  •  retail trade: 105.3 (104.5)
  •  manufacturing: 99.0 (103.1)
Among state and local government employees, local police and related activities had the highest rate—414.0, compared to a lower 392.9 in 2014.

Other government operations with high rates include:

  •  local government transportation and warehousing activities: 391.0 (395.5 in 2014)
  •  state health care and social assistance: 334.4 (357.7)
  •  local government construction: 322.0 (296.4)
  •  state law enforcement and related activities: 261.6 (272.8)
  •  utilities: 232.1 (148.8)
Although some of the difference between the private- and public-sector workforce numbers can be attributed to the higher percentages of government workers in law enforcement and health-care positions, there were still differences in comparable occupations such as construction and warehousing. That difference is attributed to several factors such as government workers using older and less safe equipment and, at union worksites, a greater willingness to notify supervisors of injuries.

The BLS doesn’t collect injury information from federal government agencies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

For More Information

The BLS report is available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh2.pdf.

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