Workplace Injuries in Utah, Nation Drop to 22 Year Low

According to the Utah Labor Commission, workplace injuries and illnesses have declined in Utah and nationally to a 22-year low, despite a growing workforce.

Working in Utah or just about anywhere in the nation has never been safer, according to the Utah Labor Commission.

Workplace injuries and illnesses have declined in Utah and nationally to a 22-year low, despite a growing workforce.

In the latest figures from 1998, Utah's private sector experienced 51,800 non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses or 7.6 cases for every 100 equivalent full-time workers, compared with the nation's 5.9 million injuries and illnesses or 6.7 cases.

Those figures declined from 1997, where Utah and the nation incurred 8.3 cases and 7.1 cases per 100 workers, respectively.

While injuries and illnesses have been falling since 1992, the decline for Utah from 1997 to 1998 was twice that for the nation.

The credit for Utah's injury and illness abatement goes to the Utah Labor Commission, worker's compensation carriers, associations and trade groups for emphasizing workplace safety and health.

Specifically, the Utah Labor Commission provides Workplace Safety and Health Consultation Services, which use a no-charge, non-penalty approach to help employers reduce injuries and illnesses by improving safety and health.

Also, the Commission's "Take Safety Seriously" campaign and recurring safety and drug-free workplace seminars are significant reminders to workers and employers.

In 1998, Utah Occupational Safety and Health estimated that workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses $127 billion, and a Utah Labor Commission survey revealed 88 percent of Utah workers would be "greatly" or "somewhat affected" if a primary wage earner was injured.

Salt Lake City-based manufacturer Cutie Pie Corp. first used the Utah Labor Commission's consultation service in 1993.

As a result, Cutie Pie has seen its workers' compensation costs reduced from $100,000 to $10,000 a year.

Heightened awareness of safety and health issues has created other benefits for employers besides a more productive workforce.

While workers' compensation premiums in Utah are not expected to decrease overall next year, premiums will not increase for the average employer for the first time in five years.

The state has experienced an average 50 percent drop in workers' compensation premiums over the last five years.

Individual employers can receive a discount depending on their history or providing safety and health programs.

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