This week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released workplace injury and illness numbers for 2010. Its report, The 2010 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, shows a drop in private industry nonfatal incidents (3.5 cases per 100 full-time workers – down slightly from the 2009 rate of 3.6 cases per 100 workers) and a continued high rate for public sector workers (5.7 cases for every 100 workers).
Regarding the public sector rate, the report noted that the injury and illness rate for local government workers at 6.1 cases per 100 workers was significantly higher than state and federal employees
Key findings from the BLS report included the following:
- Incidence rates for injuries and illnesses combined among private industry establishments declined significantly in 2010 for total recordable cases and for other recordable cases.
- Manufacturing experienced an increase in the incidence rate of injuries and illnesses in 2010--rising to 4.4 cases per 100 full-time workers from 4.3 cases the year earlier.
- The private construction industry sector rate decreased by 0.3 cases to 4.0 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2010--a seven percent decline.
- Health care and social assistance experienced an incidence rate of injuries and illnesses of 5.2 cases per 100 full-time workers--down from 5.4 cases in 2009. Note: as pointed out in a Department of Labor announcement, “more workers are injured in the health care and social assistance industry sector than in any other, including construction and manufacturing.”
- National public sector estimates covering more than 18.4 million state and local government workers are available for the third consecutive year with an incidence rate of 5.7 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2010, relatively unchanged from 2009.
OSHA Concerned About Recordkeeping
Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis, used the announcement as an opportunity to voice OSHA’s concern about recordkeeping, saying the BLS report “highlights the importance of accurate record keeping. Employers must know what injuries and illnesses are occurring in their workplaces in order to identify and correct systemic issues that put their workers at risk. We are concerned with poor record-keeping practices and programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries and illnesses.”
Under OSHA’s Recordkeeping Standard, (29 CFR 1904), employers are required to prepare and maintain records related to occupational injuries and illnesses. More specifically, there are three key forms that employers must fill out to be in compliance:
- Form 301, which is a detailed first injury and illness report form with descriptive explanations of the incident and the physician or health care professional’s contact information
- Form 300, which is a log of incidents with columns to classify work-related injuries and illnesses and to note the extent and severity of those items
- Form 300A, which is a numerical summary of incidents for a particular location that is posted annually from Feb 1- April 30 in a location clearly visible to employees and new applicants
Of course, smaller businesses and certain industries are partially exempt from the standard (e.g., those with 10 or less employees), except in the case of death or the hospitalization of three or more employees.
Secretary Solis comment about the need for employers to identify and correct systemic issues echoes one of OSHA’s major themes of the last few years, specifically a call for employers proactively find and fix workplace hazards before an incident occurs. To that end, OSHA has proclaimed its proposed Injury and Illness Prevent Program (I2P2) rule to be one of its biggest priorities.
Technology Can Help
Today, a good electronic, on-demand systems like MSDSonline’s Incident Management solution can greatly reduce the time and effort required to comply with OSHA’s Recordkeeping Standard, allowing users to quickly generate OSHA forms 300, 300 A and 301.
Furthermore, MSDSonline’s simple 4-Step Case Creation Guide walks users through the process of recording cases for any workplace occurrence and consolidates all cases in one place. It also gives users a place to attach related files (images, videos, notes, accident reports, etc.) to a case for a single point-of-reference.
Better yet, once all of the information is captured electronically, powerful analytical tools provide in-depth risk and root-cause analyses and help the user better understand trends, identify high-risk and unsafe working conditions, and track corrective actions.
You can learn more about the BLS report by following these links: