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Nonfatal injury and illness worker rate sees slight dip

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Private industry employers in the United States reported nearly 54,000 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2014 compared to a year earlier, resulting in a slight dip in the incidence rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private industry employers reported nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses overall in 2014, the bureau said Thursday. The 54,000 decline, combined with an increase in reported hours worked, led to the total recordable cases incidence rate falling to 3.2 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2014 compared to a 3.3 cases rate in 2013.

The 2014 rate continues a pattern of declines that, with the exception of 2012 when the rate remained flat at 3.4 cases, occurred annually for the last 12 years, according to the bureau. However, the rate declined only in the retail trade, health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services sectors in 2014, according to the bureau.

About 2.8 million or 95.1% of the reported incidents last year in the private sector were injuries, with 75% of those occurring in service-providing industries such as education and health services and leisure and hospitality, according to the report. The remaining 25% occurred in goods-producing industries such as construction and manufacturing.

Workplace illnesses accounted for the other 4.9% of incidents reported last year, mostly in the service-providing industries, which accounted for 64.4% of these illnesses.

For private employers, the rates were higher in 19 states than the national rate of 3.2 cases, including Maine and Vermont, which had the highest rates. The rates were lower than the national average in 14 states and the District of Columbia, according to the bureau. The rates were about the same as the national rate in eight states and unavailable for the rest of the states.