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U.S. workplace injury rate declines, but injury duration increases: BLS

U.S. workplace injury rate declines, but injury duration increases: BLS

The frequency of nonfatal work injuries and illnesses has declined, but it appears that the severity of occupational injuries has increased slightly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday.

In a report, the BLS said the overall rate of work-related injuries and illnesses that required days away from work was 112 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2012. That compares with 117 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2011.

Meanwhile, injured U.S. workers spent a median of nine days away from work in 2012, up from eight days in 2011.

Days away from work typically signal the severity of a worker's injury.

Workers with a short length of service represented 30% of all private-sector job-related injuries in 2012, according to the federal agency. BLS noted that private-sector workers with fewer than three months of service saw an 8% increase in injuries in 2012 — particularly in the manufacturing industry — while private-sector workers with three to 11 months of service saw a 5% increase in injuries, most of which were in the retail sector.