Is it More Dangerous to Work in Texas?

In 1998, the most recent year for which figures are available,\r\nTexas had lower rates of occupational fatalities, injuries and\r\nillnesses than the nation as a whole.

In 1998, the most recent year for which figures are available, Texas had lower rates of occupational fatalities, injuries and illnesses than the nation as a whole.

Over the past three years, Texas rates have been falling faster than in the nation as a whole.

Texas observers say that Gov. George W. Bush has done little as governor to affect occupational safety. But these data can be used to support the Republican argument that an activist government is not needed to make workplaces safer.

Union officials counter that these figures are not reliable. They say there is widespread under-reporting in Texas, partly because the state''s voluntary workers'' compensation system makes it easy for employers to hide accidents and illnesses.

Texas fatal occupational rate vs. national rate, per 100,000 workers civilians age 16 and older, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Texas Workers'' Compensation Commission (TWCC).

1996 Nation=4.8 Texas=5.5

1997 Nation=4.7 Texas=4.8

1998 Nation=4.5 Texas=4.2

Nonfatal occupational injury and illness incidence rates per 100 full-time workers (includes all OSHA 200 log recordables), according to BLS and TWCC.

1996 Nation=7.4 Texas=6.3

1997 Nation=7.1 Texas=5.6

1998 Nation=6.7 Texas=5.2

by James Nash

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