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Workplace Injuries not ‘Bigger in Texas’


You likely have at some point heard someone joke about the well-known phrase “everything’s bigger in Texas.” As cliché and overused as it may be, the catchy saying can often be quite true.

But researchers are pointing out that the lone-star state deserves to be recognized for boasting small numbers for workplace injury and illness statistics. Despite the state’s 13th highest rank in terms of obesity and 10th for diabetes, employers in the state are doing something right for their employees.

The trend taking place in Texas is consistent with the trend for our country as a whole, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“We are encouraged by the reported decline in incidence rates for workplace injuries and illnesses, which is reflective of the joint effort of government, business, unions and other organizations,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in a recent release.

Experts like Solis also feel optimistic about the future for workplace health and safety. But before any serious celebrating takes place, the Department of Labor would like to focus on improving these statistics for the public sector, particularly in the healthcare and social assistance industries.

“We remain concerned that more workers are injured in the healthcare and social assistance sector than in any other, including construction and manufacturing, and this group of workers had one of the highest rates of injuries and illness,” Solis said. “[OSHA] will continue to work with employers, workers and unions in this industry to reduce these risks.”

Since these industries account for almost 17 million jobs in the United States and carry 5.2 total recordable cases per 100 full-time workers in 2010, the DOL is rightfully concerned.

“Illness and injury rates for public sector workers also continue to be alarmingly high at 5.7 cases for every 100 workers, which is more than 60 percent higher than our private sector rate,” said Solis. “We must continue to work with state and local governments to ensure the safety of our public employees.”

On a larger scale, experts in the workplace health and safety field are happy to see these numbers decreasing steadily throughout the country. But when these injuries and illnesses are still occurring on a relatively frequent basis, Solis’ thirst remains unquenched.

“3.1 million injuries and illnesses in the workplace [nationwide] is too high. Serious injuries and illnesses can knock a working family out of the middle class. Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a paycheck,” Solis added in her statement.

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