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2012 Shows Decrease in Serious Injuries, More Time out of Work

workplace safetyNearly a year after the 2012 year has ended, the numbers have been compiled and figures provided by the federal government are showing that there were fewer serious workplace injuries as compared to 2011. However, the numbers are also showing that the injuries resulted in longer periods of time away from work, with the average amount of time being 9 days for recuperation as compared to 8 days in 2011.
 
In other words, there have been fewer injuries overall but the injuries themselves have been more serious occurrences.
 
Of the total, ergonomic injuries account for about 34% (or one in three), which is generally unchanged from the prior year. Yet again, the average amount of time away from work as a result of these injuries increased to 12 days from 11. Injuries to laborers and those working with freight, stock and materials showed the highest number of ergonomically injuries with a rate of 164 injuries per 10,000 workers. In 2011 there were only 140 injuries per 10,000.
 
The leading general causes for injuries in 2012 are as follows
 
• Overexertion, responsible for 63% of cases
• Slips, trips and falls which account for 23%
 
The most common types of injuries that occurred were sprains, strains and tears. These accounted for 38% of the total while shoulder problems make up 13% and knee problems account for 12%.
 
While one might assume that older employees might be more susceptible to injuries related to overexertion, the lowest injury rate was actually among those workers who fall into the group of 65 or older. Additionally, the same group required the longest amount of recovery time and therefor the longest number of days out of work at an average of 14 days. The highest injury rate by age group was among those who are 45 to 54 years old.
 
The seriousness of training and safety precautions among employers and employees is also a concern, as numbers are showing that new workers with less experience account for 30% of all cases which is an 8% increase over the 2011 working year.
 
Of course, there are always certain areas where injury numbers will rise and other areas where numbers will fall. These are factors that depend on which statistical variables are analyzed and reported on. When grouped by occupation, age, type of injury and other factors, the numbers can change drastically. The most important factor is that the number of fatal injuries has decreased in 2012, which is definitely a positive statistic.
 
Whether you're an employer or an employee, workplace safety should be a top priority. We spend a lot of time at work which means there's an increased chance that we will experience and injury at some point. Observing and exercising the best safety practices can not only reduce the intensity of these injuries but it can prevent them altogether. Encourage your employees, employer or co-workers to educate themselves on workplace safety and to follow the best practices for their occupation and job duties. Remember, a safe workplace is a smart workplace.

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