News Release USDL: 97-198
Thursday, June 12, 1997
Contact: Stephen Gaskill, (202)219-6091
Statement Of Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman
On Lost Worktime Injury Findings From BLS
There is no doubt that American workplaces have become safer
since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
was formed in 1971. Too many workers, however, are still
injured on the job and must remain out of work in order to spend
time to properly heal. New Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data
provide surprising insight into who is being injured.
Carpal tunnel syndrome remains the most insidious workplace
affliction -- half of all workers suffering with carpal tunnel
syndrome missed 30 days or more of work. Women outnumbered men
by almost three to one in carpal tunnel cases, but they were just
as likely to receive those injuries on an assembly line as they
were at a keyboard. In short, cumulative trauma disorders, which
cost the American economy more than $100 billion annually,
continue to take a severe toll on working women.
Earlier this year BLS reported that nursing homes and other
personal care facilities are the third most-hazardous workplaces
in the US. More than 82,000 workers lost time due to injuries
and illnesses, and nearly seven out of eight of those injured
were women. Nursing homes ranked first in the frequency of
overexertion injuries with a rate four to five times the national
rate -- and nurses aides lifting and moving patients account for
a large portion of those injuries.
It is my intention to see that the Department of Labor takes
appropriate steps to eliminate this appalling number of
cumulative trauma injuries from the American workscene. OSHA's
job is cut out for the agency, and I pledge my full support in
helping to make all workplaces safer.