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Workplace injuries in Colorado and around the country

According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were three million nonfatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2013. The figure, which was announced on Dec. 4, is equivalent to an incidence rate of 3.3 per 100 full-time workers in the private sector. It is slightly lower than 2012, and it continues a pattern of a decline in injuries that has been going on for the past 11 years.

Among state and local government employees, the incident rate for 2013 was 5.2 percent, which is significantly higher than in the private sector. However, this still represents a decrease from a rate of 5.6 percent in 2012. Other key findings from the BLS report include the significant drop in injuries involving workers from the utilities, retail and manufacturing sectors.

A federal official said that while the number of injured workers is high, the overall trend should not be overlooked. Considering that workplace injuries typically increase during periods of economic growth, the downward trend was somewhat unexpected. Credit was given to unions, worker advocates and employers alike, but it was noted that additional work needed to go into further lowering the number of serious injuries and illnesses at work.

Those who suffer a workplace injury may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits include medical and rehabilitation costs as well as total or partial disability benefits. Disability benefits act to provide compensation for lost wages or provide benefits to partially or fully disabled employees who may not be able to work again or may be limited in the work that they can seek. If the injury was caused by the negligence of a non-employer third party, it may be possible to bring a separate action as well.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "Three Million Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in 2013: BLS", December 05, 2014

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