Latest from Issues and Ideas

Pop Nukoonrat | Dreamstime
Awcnz62 | Dreamstime
Tadeusz Ibrom | Dreamstime
Dmytro Hrushchenko | Dreamstime
Assn. for Advancing Automation
Robert Kneschke | Dreamstime

OSHA Releases 2005 Workplace Injury and Illness Rates

Nov. 22, 2006
Rules & Regulation

For the third straight year, the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses in private-sector industry declined, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor s Bureau of Labor Statistics recent report, Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in 2005.

Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occurred at a rate of 4.6 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers among private-industry employers in 2005, a decline from 4.8 cases per 100 in 2004. The study identified a total of 4.2 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2005 relatively unchanged compared to 2004, and involving a 2% increase in the number of hours worked.

Incidence rates for injuries and illnesses declined significantly in 2005 for most case types, with the exception of cases with days away from work.

The announcement that workplace injuries and illnesses in 2005 were at an all-time low is more good news for America s workers, said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, and reflects the department s effective worker health and safety strategy: 1) compliance assistance; 2) health and safety partnerships with labor; and 3) targeted, aggressive enforcement against bad actors.

As encouraging as the report is, she continued, there is more to do and the Department is working hard to make workplaces even safer and healthier for America s workers.

Of the 4.2 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses, approximately 4.0 million (94.2%) were injuries. Of those, 2.7 million (68%) occurred in service-providing industries that employed 79% of private-sector workers.

The largest share of injuries were in the manufacturing sector (20%), which includes fabricated metal product manufacturing with 121,800 cases.

Workplace illnesses accounted for less than 6% of the 4.2 million cases in 2005, almost unchanged from 2004,. The manufacturing sector accounted for almost 39% of the newly reported cases.

The survey measures nonfatal injuries and illnesses only, and excludes the self-employed, farms with fewer than 11 employees, private households, Federal government agencies, and employees in state and local governments. It provides estimates of the number and frequency (incidence rates) of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses based on logs kept by private industry employers during the year. These records reflect the number of illnesses and injuries and the employer s understanding of which cases are work-related, under record-keeping rules revised by OSHA, the Dept. of Labor, and made effective on Jan. 1, 2002.

Occupational injury and illness data for coal, metal, and nonmetal mining and for railroad activities were provided by the Dept. of Labor s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the Dept. of Transportation s Federal Railroad Administration. MSHA has not adopted OSHA s revised record-keeping requirements for 2005, so estimates for those industry sectors are not comparable with estimates for other industries.

The U.S. EPA Region 5 filed an administrative complaint against Stroh Die Casting, Inc., for alleged clean-air violations at the Milwaukee, WI plant, and proposed a $70,922 penalty. EPA contends Stroh failed to conduct performance testing on furnaces it uses to melt coated aluminum returned by its customers and by not complying with notification, planning, reporting, and record-keeping requirements. According to regulation, Stroh had 30 days from receipt of the complaint (October 4) to file an answer and request a hearing.

The 18th American Foundry Society Environmental, Health, and Safety Conference featured keynote speaker Rick Otis, deputy associate administrator for the Office of Policy, Economics & Innovation at the EPA. In addition, the 2005 AFS Div. 10 EHS Service Awards were presented to Jeff Willman (McWane, Inc.), Kay Rowntree (Industrial Hygiene Sciences LLC), and Gary Mosher (Mosher Environmental & Occupational Health Consulting).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Allcast Inc. agreed to a settlement that resolves clean-air violations at Allcast's Allenton, WI, plant. EPA charged the aluminum diecaster failed to comply with notification, planning, testing, record-keeping, and operating regulations in its melting operation. Between March 2003 and September 2004, Allcast is alleged to have melted coated aluminum, disregarding regulations aimed at controlling dioxin and furan emissions. The agreement includes a $37,500 penalty, and resolves the allegations.

U.S. EPA Region 5 cited Del s Metal Co. of Rock Island, IL for alleged clean-ail violations. The EPA charges that Del s Metal failed to test its sweat furnace emissions for dioxins and furans, or to install an afterburner to destroy the dioxins and furans, and did not comply with planning, notification, and record-keeping requirements. The company was given 30 days from receipt of the complaint (October 4) to file an answer and request a hearing. A $100,548 penalty has been proposed.

The EPA released its Acid Rain Program 2005 Progress Report, noting that SO2 emissions from electric power generators were more than 5.5 million tons below 1990 levels. NOx emissions were down by about 3 million tons below 1990 levels.