Where is the Safest Work in America?

June 21, 2010
The Textile Rental Services Association of America (TRSA) recently released the results of a statistical analysis that measured national trends in total reportable cases (TRC) and adapted them to U.S. metropolitan areas. This analysis gives local perspective to the national data on decreasing illness and injury cases and recognizes the progress American businesses have made in ensuring workplace safety.

The Work Safety Regional Statistical Analysis (Work SafeTRSA) weighs the national safety record of each type of business represented in a community in accordance with each industry’s importance as a local employer.

“Textile rental companies have pushed hard to better equip their facilities and build greater conscientiousness about working safely. We know industry as a whole has done the same thing,” said Charlie Sewell, TRSA’s vice president of government affairs. “Every day, our members deliver products to workplaces that enhance employee safety. TRSA companies serve all kinds of local businesses and have witnessed economy-wide improvement in this respect.”

The Work SafeTRSA used the most recently reported federal TRC rates for each of the major industry divisions that define the broad scope of work performed by private U.S. companies. The largest such divisions – in terms of the total number of U.S. jobs – are trade/transportation/utilities (TTU), education/health, professional/business services, leisure/hospitality and manufacturing. These industries each employ at least 13 million people; TTU has twice that many. Industries with less than 10 million employees are construction, financial/real estate, information, other services and natural resources/mining.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has calculated a national TRC rate for each industry classification. For example, the construction industry’s national TRC fell from 6.8 to 4.7 between 2003 and 2008 (the most recent year for which BLS has calculated TRCs). TRSA compiled a Work SafeTRSA for each of the Top 100 metropolitan areas by weighing these rates in accordance with the prevalence of each industry in each local economy.

Over this 5-year period, the U.S. economy-wide TRC has fallen from 5.0 to 3.9 cases per year per 100 full-time workers. Thus, the national Work SafeTRSA is about 78 – down 22 percent from the 2003 baseline of 100.

“There is much speculation that safety statistics are not reliable indicators, that too many incidents are not counted,” Sewell added. “No reporting system is perfect. What counts is how people react to ratings and improve their individual anticipation and self-policing of safety problems. Better performance in this endeavor is something we all should work toward and demand from our workplaces and communities.”

Top Cities

TRSA’s analysis scored cities by the prevalence of business types in the industrial mix of each of the top 100 U.S. markets. The larger the percentage of jobs in high-risk industries in a city, the higher its Work SafeTRSA.

The top 25 cities are listed below. For more information and to see to full list of 100 cities, visit http://trsa.org.

  1. Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Va. area
  2. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa
  3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
  4. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo.
  5. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
  6. Colorado Springs, Colo.
  7. New York-N. New Jersey-Long Island
  8. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.
  9. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C./S.C.
  10. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
  11. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.
  12. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.
  13. Columbus, Ohio
  14. Salt Lake City
  15. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.
  16. Kansas City, Mo./Kan.
  17. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz.
  18. Richmond, Va.
  19. Jacksonville, Fla.
  20. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif.
  21. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.
  22. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  23. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas
  24. Madison, Wis.
  25. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.
About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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