On the heels of the passage of a new law that will give Cal/OSHA a boost with safety and health enforcement efforts, workplace injury statistics are plummeting.
The California Department of Industrial Relation's Division of Labor Statistics and Research has found that job-related nonfatal injury/illness rates in 1998 reached a record low of 6.7 workers out of every 100.
This is the second lowest rate since collection of these statistics began in 1971.
"Because we want to increase safety in the state's workplaces, this record low injury/illness rate is welcome news to us," said Steve Smith, director of the Department of Industrial Relations. "Now that we are expanding our Cal/OSHA enforcement staff for the first time in years, we hope to further reduce workplace injuries."
The injury/illness rate fell from 7.1 per 100 workers in 1997 to 6.7 per 100 workers in 1998, while employment in the industries covered expanded 3.2 percent.
Some of the statewide statistics included the following.
- Eight of the 10 major industries recorded fewer injuries and illnesses.
- Lost workdays declined from 3.6 to 3.3 days per incidence.
- Of the nonfatal occupational illnesses reported, 57.6 percent were disorders associated with repeated trauma.
For copies of statistical tables for the 1998 occupational injuries and illnesses in California, visit the department's Web Site at www.dir.ca.gov