The Department of Labor announced last week that nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers declined in 2010 to a rate of 3.5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, down from a rate of 3.6 in 2009. Manufacturing was the sole private industry sector to experience an increase in the incidence rate of injuries and illnesses in 2010—rising to 4.4 cases per 100 full-time workers from 4.3 cases the year earlier.
More than one-half of the 3.1 million private industry injury and illness cases reported nationally in 2010 were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction—commonly referred to as DART cases. These cases occurred at a rate of 1.8 cases per 100 full-time worker.
State and local government workers
Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among state and local government workers continue to be dangerously higher than that of private sector workers at 5.7 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2010, relatively unchanged from 2009. Which begs the question; Why is this happening, and why do we as a society continue to ignore this problem? The National public sector estimates cover approximately 18.4 million state and local government workers.
According to the Dept. of Labor report, nearly 80% of these injuries and illnesses reported in the public sector occurred among local government workers in 2010, resulting in an injury and illness rate of 6.1 cases per 100 full-time workers—significantly higher than the 4.6 cases per 100 full-time workers in state government.