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Report says workplace injuries are declining - experts disagree

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently stated that workplace injuries have decreased over the last 13 years. The trend reportedly continued through 2015, and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health has stated that the decline is encouraging. The Assistant Secretary also stated that the decline was likely the result of efforts by government agencies, employers and unions alike.

In the midst of acknowledging these accomplishments, two concerning points require attention:

  • Injuries are still present. The Assistant Secretary also pointed out that recent figures find 2.9 million workers were injured or made ill by their work. This number is still too high.
  • The decrease may be misleading. Although the reduction in injuries and fatalities is promising, it may be part of a bigger trend unrelated to workplace safety.

A recent report by the Society for Human Resource Management discussed these issues and focused on two interesting findings: the accuracy of injury reporting in the workplace may be unreliable and the reduction may be connected to a decrease in the availability of dangerous jobs, not increased safety efforts.

To the first point, the report discusses the high likelihood that employers and employees alike are underreporting workplace injuries. Secondly, the job market for certain industries has been low over the past few years. Having fewer dangerous jobs will result in a decrease in accidents. If jobs in these fields grow over the next few years, fields like the oil and gas industry, the numbers of workplace injuries may begin to increase.

What about injured workers? The study provides valuable information about trends in the American workforce. However, those who are injured in an on-the-job accident are not likely worried about trends. They are worried about their own day to day reality; a reality that involves getting medical care and paying their bills.

In these situations, compensation is likely available through a workers' comp claim. Navigating these claims can be difficult. As such, it is often wise to seek the counsel of an experienced workers' compensation lawyer. This legal professional will guide you through the application and, if necessary, appeals process - advocating for your rights and working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.

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Defending Liberty Pursuing Justice The American Trial Lawyers Association Best Lawyers Injured Workers' Advocates South Carolina Association For Justice South Carolina Bar Law Association

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