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Workplace Accidents in New York State: Good News and Bad News

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At the end of January 2014, the U.S. Labor Department released 2012 statistics for New York State. The numbers tell an encouraging story: In that year, private industry employers reported 146,000 work injuries and illnesses. This translates to a rate of 2.5 injuries or diseases per 100 full-time employees. New York was one of eight states to see a significant decrease in worker injuries in the private sector.

The story is somewhat different in the public sector: State and local government employees had about 69,000 cases of non-fatal work-related injury and illness in 2012. This translates to a injury rate of 7.0 injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time workers. This is higher than the national rate, which is 5.6 per 100 employees. Most of the public sector injuries and illnesses - around 78 percent -- were reported by local governments.

In the private sector, the majority of the workplace illnesses and injuries occurred in service-providing industry sectors. The two highest sub-groups were the trade, transportation and utilities sector and the education and health services sector. Combined, these two industry sectors had more than 80,000 cases reported.

In 2012, there were 196 fatal workplace injuries reported in New York State. Of these, workplace violence was a significant cause of death on the job, especially in New York City. Other significant causes of fatal injuries in New York included transportation accidents and slips, trips and falls. This is a reduction of five percent over 2011.

In New York City, in contrast, the number of fatal workplace injuries increased slightly from 2011 to 2012 -- from 72 to 75 fatal injuries. Although numbers of non-fatal workplace accidents in New York City is not yet available for that year, it is certain that construction accidents in the city increased. In 2012 the number of jobsite injures went from 128 in 2011 to 187, an increase of 46 percent, according to an article in the New York Daily News.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "EMPLOYER-REPORTED WORKPLACE INJURIES AND ILLNESSES IN NEW YORK - 2012," Jan. 29, 2014; New York Daily News, "Jobsite accidents in New York City jumped 31 percent from 2011 to 2012, while injuries up 46% in same period," Jan. 13, 2013.