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Workplace injuries and fatalities continue to decline

Workers in New Jersey face the risk of accidents and injuries at their jobs, and different industries pose different types of risks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. Since that time, OSHA regulations have helped increased the safety of workplaces in the U.S. and led to a decline in workplace injuries and fatalities.

Improvement in workplace injury and illness statistics

In 1972, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses was 10.9 incidents for every 100 full-time workers. By 2018, the rate of injury accidents and occupational illnesses had fallen to 2.8 cases for every 100 full-time workers. This decline in the rate of workplace injuries can be attributed to the safety and health regulations that OSHA has promulgated under the 1970 legislation and its enforcement activities. The Occupational Safety and Health Act has helped to make workplaces safer and healthier for workers.

Improvements in workplace fatality statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics established the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries or CFOI in 1992 to track the incidence of fatal workplace injuries. In 1994, the CFOI reported the highest number of workplace fatalities with 6,632 deaths. The lowest annual reported deaths occurred in 2009 when 4,551 fatalities were reported by the CFOI. In 2018, 5,250 workplace fatalities were reported. Workplace fatalities broken down by incident type fell into the following categories:

• Transportation accidents: 39.6% of fatalities
• Violence by animals or people: 15.8% of fatalities
• Slips, trips or falls: 15.1% of fatalities
• Contact with equipment or objects: 15.0% of fatalities
• Exposure to harmful environments or substances: 11.8% of fatalities

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics over the 50 years since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed demonstrate the effectiveness of workplace safety and health regulations. While the legislation has improved the safety of workplaces, injury and fatality accidents and illnesses still occur at workplaces in New Jersey. People who are injured and the families of workers who are killed may be entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

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