Restaurant Workplace Injuries at Lowest Level in 30 Years

On-the-job injuries at eating-and-drinking establishments are at\r\ntheir lowest level in 30 years, according to a National Restaurant\r\nAssociation.

On-the-job injuries at eating-and-drinking establishments are at their lowest level in 30 years, according to a National Restaurant Association (NRA) analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

"Restaurants are working hard to ensure that employees have a safe and productive workplace, and their efforts are yielding tremendous results with on-the-job accidents steadily declining in the 1990s," said Steven Anderson, NRA president and chief executive officer. "As the largest private-sector employer in the country, the restaurant industry prides itself in offering a multitude of training programs to provide a safe working environment for the 11.3 million restaurant and foodservice workers in the United States.

The analysis of 1999 data from BLS found that non-fatal accidents in restaurants totaled 5.5 incidents per 100 full-time equivalent employees -- down from 6.2 in 1998.

Anderson said the association''s efforts, such as the Workplace Safety Program administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, underscore its commitment to reducing on-the-job accidents.

The program helps restaurant employees identify an operation''s potential safety and security hazards so they can contribute to a safe environment.

Anderson added that these preventive efforts and the statistical data further question the need for OSHA''s new ergonomics standard.

The association has called the standard "bureaucratic madness," and has argued that the regulations were rushed and will have "grave ramifications for the nation''s 844,000 restaurant locations."

"We remain steadfast in our opposition to OSHA''s decision to impose costly and bureaucratic workplace regulations that will negatively impact not only the nation''s restaurants but virtually every business and job in the nation," said Anderson.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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