News Release USDL: 97-457
Wednesday, December 17, 1997
Contact: Gerry Gibbs (202)219-8211
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY OF LABOR ALEXIS
M. HERMAN ON WORK-RELATED INJURIES AND
ILLNESSES IN 1996
Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman today
issued the following statement, commenting
on the results of today's Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS) report on work-related
injuries and illnesses in 1996. The report
showed a drop in the rate of injury and
illness cases for the fourth year in a row.
"I am pleased to report this decrease in the
rate of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Clearly, the work of the Department and the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) has had a significant and notable effect.
We are moving toward achieving my goal of
ensuring safe and healthful workplaces for
"The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports
an incidence rate of 7.4 injuries and illnesses
per 100 full-time workers -- the lowest rate
since BLS began tracking this data in 1973.
Across all sectors, in nearly every category,
there are fewer injuries and illnesses. These
reductions are the result of many factors,
including employee training, employer commitment,
the Department's education and outreach initiatives,
and OSHA's consultation services and enforcement
"At the same time, however, I must note that
while this is good news, it is not good enough.
Millions of workers either lost work time or were
placed on restricted work activity, often while
recuperating from injuries sustained on the job.
And although the overall number of illnesses
associated with repeated trauma such as carpal
tunnel syndrome decreased, the percentage of
those cases increased over 1995.
"There is still work to be done, and I challenge
every workplace to redouble its efforts to
improve the safety and health of its workforce.
OSHA stands ready as an equal partner with
business and labor to meet this challenge."