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The number and rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the private sector declined last year, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Thursday.
Private industry employers reported about 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2015, representing a decline of about 48,000 from 2014, despite an increase in total hours worked, according to the report. The rate of cases recorded was 3.0 cases per 100 full-time workers, down from 3.2 in 2014.
"We are encouraged to see the significant decline in worker injury and illness rates,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels said in a statement on Thursday.
But the number of injuries “is still far too many. At OSHA, we will continue to do all that we can to continue driving the rate down," he said.
More than half of the nonfatal injury and illness cases involved days away from work, job transfer or restriction, according to the report.
Nearly 2.8 million, or 95.2%, of the cases were injuries, with 75% of these injuries occurring in service-providing industries and the other 25% occurring in goods-producing industries.
Workplace illnesses accounted for the other 4.8% of the cases reported by private industry employers in 2015, with service-providing industries accounting for 64.7% of illnesses and goods-producing industries accounting for 35.4%, according to the report.
Service-providing industries, including trade, transportation and financial services, employed 82.5% of the private industry workforce. Goods-producing industries, which include mining, construction and manufacturing, accounted for the remaining 17.5% of private industry employment.
Six of the 19 private industry sectors reported a decline in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2015: mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; transportation and warehousing; finance and insurance; health care and social assistance; and accommodation and food services. Wholesale trade was the only sector with an increase in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2015, rising from 2.9 cases in 2014 to 3.1 cases in 2015.
Discount retailer Dollar General Corp. has once again been cited and is facing $105,600 in proposed fines by federal workplace safety regulators for hazards such as blocked exits at stores in Kansas.