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Downward trend in workplace injuries and illnesses in 2013

Minnesota residents may view 3 million instances of workplace injury and illness as a high number, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is consistent with decreasing numbers over the last 11 years. With the exception of 2012, the previous 11 years have seen a marked decline in such incidents in spite of economic growth and activity. Experts applaud the trend while noting that there is still a need to pay attention to those who have been affected by serious workplace incidents.

Injuries can vary greatly for the 3 million injured workers represented by the 2013 statistics. Some deal with breathing problems, back pain or loss of limbs. A family can be instantly affected by a serious accident involving the main provider. A cooperative approach to improved workplace safety is a priority that should include both employers and representatives of their workers. Unions and federal agencies play an important role in striving for a safer and healthier work environment.

Many private sector areas saw little change in workplace injury statistics for 2013, but major improvements were recorded in manufacturing, retail areas, and utility-related jobs. Government settings saw a decline as well. While individuals might expect these statistics to be reflected in their own workplace, location-specific statistics could be higher or lower based on the type of work performed and the emphasis in the workplace on safety practices.

Although an individual working at a construction site might be at greater risk of injury on the job due to the nature of the activity, employer oversight plays an important role in limiting incidences of work-related accidents. An employee who has suffered an injury might want to discuss the situation with an attorney as workers' compensation benefits and other remedies are considered.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "Three Million Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in 2013: BLS", December 05, 2014

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