As we make plans to wrap up this calendar year, we typically remember what we are thankful for throughout the year. As a country, we can be thankful from the most recent statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor earlier last month. Although a lagging indicator, 2016 continued an ongoing decrease in nonfatal occupational injuries and illness rates for the private sector. The released total recordable incident rate for the private sector was 2.9 per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, a decrease in 0.1 cases per 100 FTE workers from 2015 which results in 48,500 fewer nonfatal injuries or illnesses. While in one sense this is great news, the drawback is that of those injuries that did occur, nearly 1/3 of them were more serious and resulted in days away from work.
Among the 18 private industry sectors provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 had significant statistical changes. Focusing on the Manufacturing and Construction related industries specifically, each industry had significant change for the better—both experienced declines in the total recordable rate in 2016. Construction had a total recordable rate of 3.2 with the total days away from work, job transfer or restriction rate at 1.9. Manufacturing was slightly higher than construction with a total recordable rate of 3.6 and a rate of 2.1 for cases with days away from work, job transfer, or restriction. Manufacturing was only one of two sectors which had over 100,000 days away from work cases (118,050) yet it experienced a 4% decrease from 2015.
Although these are very broad numbers and aren’t down to the details, it paints a picture that as a country we are more aware and cognizant of safety in 2016 than we were in years past. In future articles we will drill down in the details and see what information we can glean from the information gathered over the past year.
Check out the information for yourself at News Release USDL-17-1482