Workplace injury rates in Washington show continued improvement

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TUMWATER – Washington's job sites were safer in 2010, continuing a trend that began nearly a decade ago, according to survey results released today by the Department of Labor & Industries.

The Occupational Injury and Illness Survey for Washington State showed that 5 out of every 100 full-time workers in Washington in both the private and public sector industries suffered a job-related injury or illness in 2010, down from the 5.3 rate in 2009.

It is the lowest rate recorded since 2003, when the injury rate in Washington state was 6.9. That is when L&I began using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) which had been adopted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For private industry alone, Washington's reported injury and illness rate remains higher than the national rate. For Washington, that rate was 4.8 per 100 full-time workers in 2010, while the national rate was 3.5.

"Washington is closing the gap with the lower national rate but far too many workers still suffer serious injuries and illnesses at work," said Assistant Director Michael Silverstein, head of L&I's Division of Occupational Safety and Health. "While the trend is in the right direction, it is clear that there is more work to do if we are to prevent these injuries from occurring."

The Washington data is included in the national survey results also released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Almost all major industry sectors in Washington reported improved numbers in 2010. In construction, for instance, the injury and illness rate dropped from 8.2 in 2009 to 7.2 in 2010. Nursing and Residential Care Facilities saw a decline of 11.4 injuries per 100 workers in 2009 to 9.4 injuries last year.

Also declining in the latest survey was the rate of injuries serious enough that a worker had to miss work. In 2010, 2.5 of those 5 workers who were injured or became ill needed time off or modified work duties while they recovered. That rate is down from 2.6 in 2009.

The Washington state injury and illness rate by industry:

Industry 2010 2009
All Industries including State and Local Government 5.0 5.3
Private Industry 4.8 5.1
Natural Resources and Mining 7.3 8.1
Construction 7.2 8.2
Manufacturing 6.0 6.4
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities 5.2 5.6
Information 1.1 0.9
Financial Activities 2.0 1.3
Professional and Business Services 2.5 2.5
Education and Health Services 5.9 6.4
Leisure and Hospitality 5.9 5.5
Other Services, except Public Admin 3.7 5.0
State and Local Government 6.4 6.7
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For media information: Hector.Castro@Lni.wa.gov, L&I, 360-902-6043.

Broadcast version:
Safety in Washington state workplaces continued to improve in 2010, according to the Department of Labor & Industries. The Occupational Injury and Illness Survey for Washington State released today showed that 5 out of every 100 full-time workers in our state suffered a job-related injury or illness in 2010, a figure that shows a decline from the 5.3 rate in 2009. In 2003, the injury rate was 6.9. This data covers workers in both the private and public sectors. Improvements were seen in almost all major industries, including construction. For the full report, visit Lni dot wa dot gov.

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