Virginia employees may be pleased to hear that workplace injuries and illnesses around the country have been on the decline. This is according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it indicates that the trend continued through 2015. The report said that there were three nonfatal injury and illness cases reported to OSHA by private employers per 100 full-time workers, the lowest such rate since 2002.
That translated to a total of 2.9 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses reported to OSHA. An OSHA representative said that while the number was encouraging, it was still too high and that efforts should be made to continually reduce it. Some observers contend that the injury rate decline in gas and oil industries could be attributed to fewer jobs caused by falling prices as opposed to increased safety measures. An area of focus for OSHA in an effort to further improve workplace safety is improved reporting. OSHA believes that employers may be underreporting incidents while the same time employees may not report injuries because of retaliation fears.
Another area of focus is finding ways to prevent injuries among older workers as the workforce ages. This is part of an effort to work with employees of all ages to better handle potential health issues such as heart attacks or heart disease. While these may be lifestyle issues as opposed to pure workplace issues, they could have an impact on an employer.
Chemical exposure is a prevalent cause of occupational diseases in a variety of industries, and workers who have contracted an illness in this manner should be entitled to receive appropriate workers’ compensation benefits. However, as many employers will dispute the claim by stating that the disease was not attributable to the workplace, having the assistance of an attorney during the process could be advisable.