Recent statistics show that worker injuries are falling, but some industries are becoming more dangerous.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released its figures on work-related injuries for 2015. The good news, according to Bloomberg, is that workplace injuries have declined overall, albeit only slightly. The bad news is that not everybody is benefiting from those declines. In fact, for local and state government workers, such as health care workers in state hospitals, the injury rate actually increased last year. Furthermore, some have raised concerns that the way the BLS collects injury data may be leading to an underreporting of injuries in some industries.
Injuries among workers
The injury rate for all American workers declined slightly in 2015. The rate at which workers fell ill or were injured on the job fell to 3.3 per 100 workers, down from 3.4 per 100 in 2014. Private sector workers saw the biggest improvement, with the illness and injury rate falling from 3.2 per 100 workers in 2014 to 3.0 per 100 in 2015.
However, it was a different story for local and state government workers. The illness and injury rate for those government employees actually increased, from 5.0 per 100 workers in 2014 to 5.1 per 100 in 2015. The BLS does not collect information on injuries among federal government workers.
Is workplace safety improving?
In terms of government employees, it appears as though health care workers are the ones facing the greatest risks. As CBS News reports, nurses at state-run health care facilities are much more likely to become victims of violence by patients, especially since those nurses are more likely to deal with high-risk patients, including those who have been committed to a state psychiatric hospital.
It's also important to point out that some labor safety experts have been critical of how the BLS collects its data. The AFL-CIO, for example, has complained about the accuracy and completeness of the BLS' data. For example, one safety expert with the organization pointed out that while the gas and oil industry has one of the highest worker fatality rates in the country at 15.6 deaths per 100,000 workers, the BLS' recent statistics show the injury rate for oil and gas workers at just 0.7 per 100,000 workers, well below the national average. Such a discrepancy has led to concerns that the actual number of workplace injuries is underreported in the BLS report.
For anybody who has been hurt on the job, workers' compensation may be the lifeline they need to get through the next few weeks, months, or even years. However, applying for workers' compensation is not always easy and a simple mistake can quickly compromise one's claim. That's why injured workers should turn to a workers' compensation attorney for help. An experienced attorney can guide clients through the claims process and advise them on how to maximize the chances of their claim succeeding.