Texas: Injury/Illness Rate Below National Average

A survey conducted by state and federal agencies offers a bit of good news for occupational safety and health stakeholders in Texas.

The survey indicates that the rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in Texas in 2004 was 3.7 cases per 100 full-time workers, down from 4.0 in 2003 and well below the national rate of 4.8. Texas incidence rates were below the national rates in all major industry sectors except for real estate and rental and leasing.

The survey results mark the 15th consecutive year that Texas has had a lower rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses than the national rate, according to state officials.

The data was obtained from a survey conducted by the Texas Department of Insurance's Division of Workers' Compensation and the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rates are based on survey findings from approximately 9,000 private industry establishments in Texas, and data are categorized by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.

Rates Dropped or Stayed the Same in Most Major Industries

Incidence rates in Texas decreased or remained unchanged from 2003 in most major industry sectors. Financial activities and leisure and hospitality which both increased 6 percent were the only two major industry sectors that had increases.

Rate increases occurred in utilities (from 3.4 in 2003 to 4.7 in 2004), real estate and rental leasing (from 3.8 to 4.3), educational services (from 1.7 to 1.8) and accommodation and food services (from 3.4 to 3.7).

In manufacturing, the industries with the highest rates were:

  • Animal (except poultry) slaughtering (15.5);
  • Rendering and meat byproduct processing (13.0);
  • Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing (12.9);
  • Soft drink manufacturing (12.3);
  • Foundries (11.7);
  • Forging and stamping (11.1); and
  • Meat processed from carcasses (10.4).

The highest rates in the service-providing sector were seen in:

  • Couriers and messengers (13.1);
  • Water, sewage and other systems (12.9);
  • Air transportation (12.5);
  • Beer, wine, and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers (9.7);
  • Hospitals (8.5);
  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (7.2); and
  • Nursing and residential care facilities (7.1).

In the construction sector, the framing contractors and electrical contractors industries experienced the highest rates with 5.9 and 5.8, respectively.

State Plans to Release More In-Depth Data

The Texas Division of Workers' Compensation collects survey data in order to calculate the annual injury and illness rate for Texas to assist employers, safety professionals and policymakers in identifying occupational safety and health issues in the state. Likewise, the division's programs provide various safety and health services to help reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace through accident and illness prevention.

The agency plans to release more in-depth case and demographic data about 2004 injury and illness rates. Additional Texas fatal and nonfatal occupational injury and illness data are available by contacting the division's Safety Information Systems at (512) 804-4599 or [email protected] , or by visiting the agency's Web site.

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