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Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Decrease Nationwide

In a news statement made by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released late last week, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis announced that the number of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses that occur among private industry employers has declined.

Solis reported that the rate has decreased to 3.6 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2009. In 2008, that rate had been 3.9 cases per 100 full-time workers. The total number of cases reported also declined from 3.7 million in 2008 to 3.3 million only a year later in 2009.

Solis commented on the decline but cautioned employers across the nation that "while the reported decline in workplace injuries and illnesses is encouraging, 3.3 million workplace injuries and illnesses are 3.3 million too many. No worker should fear being injured or made sick for a paycheck."

Solis discussed the importance of keeping accurate workplace records in order to properly investigate and analyze all workplace injuries that occur on an employer's premises. She complimented the private industry by reminding the public that most employers have safety in mind and "do their best to prevent worker injuries." Solis expressed her concern over some employer programs that tend to discourage injury reporting.

A reminder was sent to all employers that the Department of Labor would "continue to issue citations and penalties to employers that intentionally under-report workplace injuries." Solis touched upon the economic downturn and the problems that employers were having in keeping costs at a minimum. She summarized that safety should not be compromised in her final statement that "even in these difficult economic times, we must keep in mind that no job is a good job unless it's a safe job."

Source: United States Department of Labor "Statement of Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis on reported decline in workplace injuries and illness" Jason Surbey 10/21/10

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