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Workplace injuries keep declining

One of the best ways to look at workplace injuries is to consider how many injuries happen per 100 full-time equivalent workers, or FTE workers. This gives employers a way to see overall increases and decreases in injury rates even when the size of the workforce changes.

It could otherwise be deceptive. If an industry showed a 30 percent overall decline in total injuries, but it also saw a 40 percent reduction in the workforce, that would mean that the workplace actually got more dangerous. There were just far fewer workers to get hurt. By looking at injuries per 100 full-time equivalent workers, you can see the real trend.

So far, that trend tells us that the workplace is getting safer and injury rates keep declining.

In 2017, reports show that there were roughly 2.8 million nonfatal incidents, and the rate was 2.8 incidents for every 100 FTE workers. These incidents included both illnesses and injuries. That information comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2016, there were 2.9 incidents per 100 FTE workers, and there were 3.0 incidents per 100 FTE workers in 2015. This shows a clear downward trend, though it is rather slight.

The last time that the number of incidents did not decrease was 2012. That year, things stayed stagnant as both 2012 and 2011 showed 3.4 incidents per 100 FTE workers.

Though the statistics paint an optimistic picture, you are still talking about millions of incidents per year, and that's not even counting fatal accidents. It is critical for workers to know what rights they have to compensation for on-the-job injuries.

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