When a workplace injury or death occurs, the incident must be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Based on this data, statistics are compiled on workplace injuries as well as on workers’ compensation claims in order to get an overall picture of how safe (or unsafe) workplaces are for employees.
Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers know statistics just released for last year show the 2012 rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that necessitated days away from work decreased slightly as compared to the prior year. In 2012, 112 workers out of every 10,000 full-time workers suffered an injury or an illness on the job that caused him or her to miss work. This was down from 117 per 10,000 workers in 2011.The decrease was good news; however, the data also shows that the slight reduction in days-away-from work injuries was not necessarily a sign that workplaces were getting safer overall. In certain industries, the rate of days-away-from work injuries actually increased. Not only that, but the median days away from work that an injured worker actually took in 2012 increased as compared with 2011.
Trends in Workplace Injuries
One of the key measures of how severe an illness is or how badly a worker is hurt is the number of days that the worker misses from work. In 2012, the median days away from work increased from eight days in 2011 to nine days. While a one day increase may at first not seem like much, keep in mind that this is the median. Any increase in the median means that there was a substantial increase in either the number of people taking days away from work, or a substantial increase in the number of days that a worker had to take after he got sick or become ill.
This data, therefore, suggests it is possible that there were fewer injuries overall but that there were more injuries that caused severe impairments or conditions. It could also suggest that fewer workers were reporting or making a claim for more minor injuries that allowed them to get better and go back to work within a day or two.
The increase in the days away from work wasn’t the only troubling news from the Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report also showed that four different occupational groups had increases in the rate of people who were injured or made ill. Theses occupational groups included:
- Computer and mathematics jobs
- Community and social service jobs.
- Service occupations including personal care
- Material moving and transportation
Those working in material moving and transportation had the highest rate of workers becoming too ill or injured to work, with 258 out of every 10,000 workers getting hurt or sick badly enough to miss time from work, as compared with 251 workers in this industry in 2011.
Workers and employers need to be aware of which industries are high risk and should also ensure they are doing everything possible to prevent injuries from occurring in all jobs and professions.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., to speak with an experienced attorney. For a free consultation call 1-866-328-4978 today.