The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, November 26, 2010


By The Building Tradesman

Welcome drop for workplace injuries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers declined in 2009 to a rate of 3.6 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers – down from 3.9 cases in 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Oct. 21.

The total recordable injury and illness incidence rate among private industry employers has declined significantly each year since 2003, the earliest year comparable estimates can be made under the current reporting system.

Some of the information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses include:

* The construction industry sector reported 71,700 fewer cases in 2009, compared to 2008 – a 22 percent decline, lowering the incidence rate by 0.4 cases to 4.3 cases per 100 workers. The decline in reported cases among the manufacturing and construction industry sectors together represents nearly 56 percent of the total private industry decline in injuries and illnesses in 2009.

*The manufacturing industry sector reported the largest year-to-year decline in injuries and illnesses since 2003 –falling by 23 percent (161,100 cases) from 2008 to 2009.

*More serious incidents which often resulted in days lost at work declined from 2.0 cases per 100 workers to 1.8 in 2009.

“While the reported decline in workplace injuries and illnesses is encouraging, 3.3 million workplace injuries and illnesses are 3.3 million too many,” said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. “No worker should fear being injured or made sick for a paycheck.”

Solis said OSHA is “is aggressively working to ensure the completeness and accuracy of injury data compiled by the nation’s employers. We are concerned about the widespread existence of programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries, and we will continue to issue citations and penalties to employers that intentionally under-report workplace injuries.”

New labor panel Leader is anti-labor

WASHINGTON (PAI)—John Kline, the Republican who will take over the House Education and Labor Committee next year, hates the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act and opposes tougher penalties for job safety and health violations.

By and large, according to a review of his statements, the 63-year-old ex-marine from Minnesota will be dubious-to-hostile towards causes pushed by workers and their unions. The AFL-CIO’s 2010 legislative scorecard said Kline went 0-for-12 on votes on the labor federation’s top issues so far this year.

Kline is the top Republican on the committee, which for years has been one of the most-polarized in Congress. Present chairman George Miller, D-Calif., leads its pro-worker Democrats. Its GOP contingent is heavily pro-business. Some of its Southern Republicans are virulently anti-union. Kline also opposes project labor agreements for federal construction.