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2013 workplace illnesses and injuries top 3 million

Texas workers who are concerned about their health and safety in the work environment might be surprised at the numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2013. Nonfatal instances of work-related injury and illness exceeded 3 million in private industry across the nation. This equates to approximately 3.3 instances per 100 full-time employees. Although this may seem like a high rate of workplace instances, this is actually consistent with an 11-year pattern of declining injuries and illnesses attributed to work activities.

Experts in the area of workplace safety note that although the numbers are high, the downward trend is encouraging, especially in light of increased economic growth. Normally, increased workplace activity would be expected to result in higher rates of illness and workplace injury. Experts also attribute the improved rates to a collaborative effort by employers, worker representatives and oversight agencies. However, it is noted that those who have been affected by such injuries and illnesses should not be ignored.

Some of the most significant findings of the BLS report include the fact that incidents of a more serious nature have declined, resulting in fewer days away from the job. A significant decrease in manufacturing, utilities and retail-related injuries was noted. In other private sector industries, statistics did not change significantly. In government workplaces, the incidences of work-related illness and injury decreased from 5.6 to 5.2 cases for every 100 full-time employees.

An injured worker may seek workers' compensation benefits in a case of illness or injury based on workplace activities, especially if medical treatment is needed and if time away from the job will result. In addressing the incident, it may be helpful to consult a lawyer if there have been serious safety oversights on the job or if the incident may have resulted from negligent actions by a non-employer third party.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "Three Million Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in 2013: BLS", December 05, 2014

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