Private industry's incidence rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses declined from 3.5 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2011 to 3.4 cases in 2012, according to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Private-industry employers reported nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2012, according to the agency's Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
"The rate reported for 2012 continues the pattern of statistically significant declines that, with the exception of 2011, occurred annually for the last decade," BLS said in a news release.
The incidence rate for private industry in 2011 was unchanged from 2010. However, the rate has steadily declined from 5.0 in 2003 to 3.4 in 2012, according to BLS data.
More than half of the nearly 3 million injury and illness cases reported by private industry in 2012 involved days away from work, job transfer or restriction (DART). DART cases occurred at a rate of 1.8 cases per 100 full-time workers, statistically unchanged annually since 2009.
Among other key data points from the 2012 survey:
- No private-industry sector experienced an increase in the rate of injuries and illnesses.
- Manufacturing was the only sector in which the rate of job-transfer or restriction-only cases exceeded the rate of cases with days away from work. Although that continues a 15-year trend, the rates for the two case types have been converging in recent years.
- Taking illnesses out of the equation, the incidence rate of injuries among private-industry workers declined from 3.3 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2011 to 3.2 cases in 2012. The incidence rate of illness cases was statistically unchanged in 2012.
Workplace safety continues to be a bigger problem for the public sector than it is for the private sector. The rate of injuries and illnesses among government workers at state and local agencies was 5.6 cases per 100 full-time workers, statistically unchanged from 2011.
The incidence rate among state-government workers was 4.4, while the rate among local-government workers was 6.1.