Workers got hurt, sick on job in ’11 at same rate as in ’10

Workers got hurt, sick on job in ’11 at same rate as in ’10

The number of workers hurt on the job in companies in Maryland and the United States in 2011 amounted to 3.5 cases per 100 workers of full-time equivalency, a federal survey reports.

In all, private employers said nearly 3 million nonfatal illnesses and injuries attributed to conditions in the workplace that occurred last year, according to estimates resulting from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII).

The rates had fallen each year since 2002, but they remained steady from 2010 to 2011.

Other key findings include:

• Only two sectors of private industry saw an increase in the number of injuries and illnesses from 2010 to 2011. They were the accommodations and food services sector as well as the agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting industry.

• Two sectors in the private industry saw a reduction in the number of injuries and illnesses from 2010 to 2011. They were the retail sector and the health care and social assistance industry. The latter reflects drops in incidents in hospitals and other inpatient-care facilities.

• Nearly 95 percent of the nonfatal work injuries and illnesses last year stemmed from injuries. Of those, 75 percent occurred in service industries.

• Workplace illnesses tallied just more than 5 percent of the incidents in 2011. The rate was largely unchanged from 2010.

• More than 50 percent of the injuries and illnesses in the nation were serious enough to require days off of work, restrictions placed on an employee’s work or transfer to another job. In all, 1.8 cases per 100 full-time workers necessitated time away from the job.

The statistics are good news in that employees hurt on the job did not increase in number. However, there was no decrease, either. Employers must be constantly vigilant in finding ways to keep their employees free from harm. Employees have the right to the safest workplace possible.

Source: Claims Journal, Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Rate Unchanged in 2011,” Oct. 30. 2012

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