Workplace Injuries And Illnesses Decrease, DOL Says
The number of
workplace injuries and illnesses has declined, and the U.S. Department
of Labor (DOL) expects the reductions to continue.
500,000 fewer job-related injuries in 2001 than in the previous year,
according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of 5.7 injuries
per 100 full-time employees reflects an 8 percent drop in cases, said
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
in workplace injuries and illnesses is good news for America’s
working men and women, their families and their employers," Chao said.
"Workplace injuries and illnesses have dropped for the ninth
consecutive year, reaching an all-time low."
statistics for 2002 are still under review by DOL, the department
expects the results to indicate a continued reduction, she added.
The focus on
injury prevention and reduction by worksite wellness professionals
deserves much of the credit for the improvements, she noted. The number
of construction injuries has dropped and there has been a 10 percent
reduction in repeated trauma injuries, such as carpel tunnel syndrome
and other musculoskeletal disorders, Chao said.
safety awareness campaigns initiated by health promotion experts and
organizations, such as the American Association of Occupational Health
Nurses (AAOHN) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA), also contributed to the decrease in job-related injuries and
illnesses, Chao added.
Safety Equals Productivity
Workplace safety also plays a prominent role in workplace productivity, Chao said.
safer workplace is a driver in productivity gains," she noted.
"Improving health and safety results in significantly better
productivity and quality. Executives and employees are all
better-motivated. Caring about the health and safety of employees or
caring about product quality inspire productivity improvements."
recognized that "it is important for us to continue to explore the
connection between productivity and safety," Chao said, adding that
wellness professionals are valuable sources of information for
workplace safety initiatives.
New Year Brings New Commitment
DOL has renewed its commitment to further reduce the number of workplace injuries, according to Chao.
"While we are
encouraged by this news, much remains to be done," she said. "One
injury or illness is one too many. As we approach the coming year, we
are renewing our commitment to reducing workplace injuries and
illnesses. And we are asking our partners — employers, trade
associations, labor unions, safety and health professionals and others
— to join in renewing their commitments as well."
Address: U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington DC 20210; (202) 219-5000, www.dol.gov.