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Workplace injuries and illnesses fall to lowest level on record

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Good news for your organization, employees and workers’ comp costs: U.S. workplace injury/illness rates have fallen to their lowest point since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began tracking those numbers in 1972.

The BLS reported last month that nonfatal injuries and illnesses in private workplaces occurred at a rate of 4.4 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2006. That’s a decline from 4.6 cases in 2005. Every state, except for one, saw injury and illness rates decline or remain unchanged.

Not surprisingly, the report says the five industries with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses are, in order: transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, construction, agriculture/forestry and health care. The study also says small companies suffer the fewest injuries and illnesses, while midsize companies experience the most (see box below).

For a breakdown of 2006 injury/illness rates by industry and state, go to To calculate your organization’s incidence rate and see how it compares to others in your industry, use the BLS “Incidence Rate Calculator and Comparison Tool” at

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