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No change in workplace injury and illness rates

There is plenty of change in American life. The technological revolution continues to unfold, profoundly changing many jobs. Plus, global competition is increasingly a major challenge. As a result, sometimes it seems like businesses are constantly restructuring.

Amid all this change, however, national data show that the workplace injury and illness rate has remained remarkably stable in the last year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 3 million workplace injuries and illnesses reported by employers in private industry in 2011.

In percentage terms, the rate was 3.5 cases of illness or injury per 100 full-time equivalent workers. This rate was unchanged from last year. The rates for cases requiring days away from work, job transfer or work restrictions also stayed steady.

In the workers' compensation field, days away from work, job transfer and restrictions on work as a result of illness and injury are known by the acronym DART. Overall, in 2011 about 1.6 million of workplace injury and illness cases were DART cases. This was more than half of the cases.

Workplace injuries are much more common than workplace illnesses, the data show. More than 2.8 million of the injuries and illnesses were injuries. This was 94.8 percent of the total.

It should also be noted, of course, that many workers are employed in public sector jobs. Indeed, around the country there are about 18.5 million workers whose jobs are in state and local government. Police and firefighters, for example, are in this group.

Source: "Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Rate Unchanged in 2011," Claims Journal, 10-3-12

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Pennsylvania workers' compensation page.

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