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Unchanged workplace injury numbers no reason for complacency

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the number of occupational illnesses and injuries in 2019 shows little change from the 2018 numbers. It applies to all private industries nationwide, including Ohio. Will this cause employers and employees to become complacent? Hopefully not, because even with no increase in work-related injuries and deaths, too many injured workers and surviving families of deceased workers have to rely on workers’ compensation benefits in the aftermath of workplace accidents.

As many as 2.8 million nonfatal on-the-job injuries were reported in 2019; safety authorities say it is unchanged compared to 2018 statistics. Similarly, 888,220 injuries that caused one or more lost workdays were recorded in 2019, which is essentially unchanged from 2018 numbers. Although incident rates varied from 2018, the same 10 industries as before still make up about one-third of injuries across all industries.

Statistics that could be worth noting:

  • The average number of injury-related lost workdays across all private industries in 2019 was eight days. However, it was 16 days for workers who were over 65 years old.
  • Lost workdays due to strains, sprains and tears showed a significant decrease in 2019.
  • The incidence rate for lost workdays among men and women was lower in 2019 than in 2018.

Complacency is one of the most dangerous shortcomings in any workplace. No rise in injuries could make employers show smug or uncritical satisfaction, which might lower safety standards. This could cause a rise in injury rates. Victims of workplace injuries in Ohio might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover lost workdays and medical expenses.