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Kentucky’s 2014 workplace injury and illness rate lowest in history

State averaging 3.8 workplace injury and illnesses per every 100 full-time worker

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 24, 2015) — Kentucky’s workplace injury and illness rate for 2014 was the lowest since records began being kept in 1996, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet announced today. Kentucky’s rate of employer-reported workplace injury and illnesses was 3.8 per 100 equivalent full-time workers, down from 4.2 in 2012. The national average is 3.2.

kentucky_seal_resized2In 2014 Kentucky employers reported 15,650 non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, job transfer or restricted duty. That number is down from 16,660 in 2013 and 16,620 in 2012.

“The safety and health of our workers should be a top concern for any governor, and I’m especially proud that our workplace injury and illness rate is the lowest it’s ever been,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Workplace injuries and fatalities are preventable, and they should be taken very seriously.”

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet provides this information to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which conducts an annual survey of occupational injuries and illnesses. The survey also captures data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) logs of workplace injuries and illnesses maintained by employers as required by law.

During the first year the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began recording incidence rate data, in 1996, Kentucky’s rate was 8.4 per 100 full-time workers. This rate is for all private and public industries in Kentucky. The rate has been declining every year in Kentucky since 2010, when it was 4.5.

“Simply put, workers are safer now in Kentucky than ever before,” said Kentucky Labor Secretary Larry L. Roberts. “This is a work in progress, however, because safety doesn’t just happen by accident. Programs such as the Labor Cabinet’s free consultation surveys, partnerships with employers and targeted enforcement of certain higher-risk industries are crucial to the continued decline in workplace incidents.”

The two areas with the highest injury and illness rates were the machine shop industry (12.5 in 2013) and the wood container and manufacturing industry (11.5). The Kentucky Labor Cabinet worked directly with those companies to eliminate hazards and improve health. As a result, machine shops have fallen to 8.5 and wood container and pallet manufacturing to 8.8.

Since 1972, Kentucky has operated through a state plan approved by OSHA, which allows the state to have its own jurisdiction for enforcement, on-site consultation, standards promulgation, and training services related to workplace safety and health.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Occupational Safety and Health Program (KY OSH) works with Kentucky employers in many ways to improve workplace conditions. Free consultative surveys and partnership programs allow highly-trained staff of the Labor Cabinet’s Education and Training Division to perform audits of workplaces to identify hazards. Industry-specific inspection programs allow KY OSH compliance investigators the ability to focus on high-risk industries.

Initiatives such as the Fall Prevention Stand-Down Campaign and Heat Stress Program raise awareness and provide free training and information to employers and employees. More than 80,000 Kentucky workers have taken free online training through the Labor Cabinet’s online courses and webinars. Each year, the Labor Cabinet provides approximately 1,500 safety managers and employees with free, hands-on training in classroom settings at major population centers throughout Kentucky.