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March 12, 1997

Washington's worker injury rate unchanged in 1995

TUMWATER - Washington workplaces weren't any more dangerous in 1995 than the previous year, but they didn't get any safer, either, according to a survey of employers released today by Department of Labor & Industries Director Gary Moore.

Injury and illness rates for Washington workers leveled off in 1995 after a combined 13 percent drop the previous two years. During 1995, 10.1 of every 100 full-time workers suffered a job-related injury, matching the 1994 numbers. As recently as 1992, the rate was 12.

Although somewhat discouraged that Washington workers and employers were unable to sustain the downward trend in 1995, Moore pointed out that the new numbers indicate that they were able to hold the line and now are poised to resume the reduction in occupational injury and illness through safer and more healthful workplace practices.

"I'm confident that both workers and employers have seen and felt the benefit of safer and more healthful workplaces and are more committed than ever to saving lives, preventing accidents and eliminating occupational diseases," he said. "And although we appear to have flattened out somewhat in 1995, I'm confident that we'll see the downward trend continue when the next measurement is taken."

Construction continued as the industry with the highest incidence rate. In 1995, 18.2 out of every 100 full-time workers suffered a job-related injury or illness. That was up slightly from the 17.6 recorded in 1994. Manufacturing workers had the next highest rate with 14.1 injured or diseased workers per 100 full-time workers. That also was up slightly from the 1994 rate of 13.5.

INDUSTRY BREAKDOWN

Industry 1995 1994
Construction 18.2 17.6
Manufacturing 14.1 13.5
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 12.3 12.1
Retail trade 10.6 10.3
Transportation and Utilities 10.3 11.0
Wholesale Trade 10.1 10.4
Services 7.8 7.5
State and Local government 7.6 9.2
Mining 5.6 6.6
Finance, insurance and real estate 3.2 2.5
 

Another breakdown of the numbers shows that those businesses employing between 50 and 249 employees continue to register the highest overall injury rates. The breakdown:

 
Year 1-10 11-49 50-249 250-999 1000+
1995 7.5 10.5 11.9 10.4 8.5
 

The numbers, the most current available, were provided through a survey of 10,000 randomly selected Washington employers by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the numbers typically lag nine or 10 months after the reported year, the 1995 numbers are even later because of the temporary shutdown of the federal government more than a year ago.

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