A new government report indicates that work injuries and illnesses are on the decline nationwide, continuing a trend that has largely continued unabated since 2004.
The findings were announced on November 9 in a press release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicating that workplace injury reports fell by 0.1 case per 100 full-time equivalent workers, to 2.9 cases per 100.
“Private industry employers reported nearly 48,500 fewer nonfatal inhury and illness cases in 2016 compared to a year earlier,” the Bureau reports. The injury rate has declined since 2004, except for an increase reported in 2012.
There were an estimated total of 3.53 million work-related injuries and illnesses among both private and government workers in 2016, down from 3.66 million in 2015. Most of those declines came from drops in minor workplace injuries resulting in employees losing a day’s work or less.
About a third of the injuries occurring in the private sector were serious enough to result in lost work time, according to the findings. Overall, there were 892,270 non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported in 2016 that resulted in days lost from work in private injury. Despite the drop in total reported injuries, the report indicates that the actual amount of injuries resulting in lost work days did not change significantly from 2015.
The private industry sectors which saw the biggest declines in overall injury and illness reports were construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and retail trade. But only manufacturing showed both an overall decrease and a decrease in days away from work; which fell by four percent.
The statistics are based on confidential reports submitted by employers nationwide, which has led to some critics questioning their validity. The National Academies of Science currently have a panel which is working on a report on how to improve data collection on workplace related injuries, which is scheduled to release its findings next year.