BLS data shows drop in rate of recordable nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses for Kentucky workers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2019) – Officials from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet today applauded recent reports by the federal government that show continued improvement in workplace safety throughout Kentucky, including the lowest rate of nonfatal incidents recorded in more than two decades.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the rate of recordable nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses for all industries dropped to 3.3 cases per 100 full-time employees in 2017 – a decrease from the previous rate of 3.4 in 2016 and the rate of 3.7 in 2015.  This marks the lowest rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in Kentucky since BLS began tracking this data in 1996.  Additionally, BLS reported that 70 work-related fatalities occurred in Kentucky in 2017, a decrease from the 92 work-related fatalities reported in 2016.

“I am encouraged to see a continued decline in workplace injuries throughout Kentucky during 2017,” said Acting Secretary David A. Dickerson. “But no rate of injury and, more importantly, no workplace fatality number – except zero – will ever be acceptable. It is the goal of this Cabinet and this Administration to do whatever it takes to ensure that both of these numbers continue to fall.”

Partnering with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Labor Cabinet has the statutory responsibility to enforce occupational safety and health (OSH) standards in Kentucky.  In performing this duty, investigators with the Labor Cabinet’s Division of OSH Compliance inspect workplaces throughout the Commonwealth to identify hazardous, unsafe, or unhealthy environments that may exist and, when necessary, cite or stop employers that permit such conditions to occur.  The Labor Cabinet also provides free consultation and training services for employers that wish to identify and address OSH concerns proactively through KYSafe, a program overseen by the Division of OSH Education & Training.

“Kentucky has a real opportunity to establish itself as the ‘gold standard’ for safe and healthful workplaces across the country,” said Department of Workplace Standards Commissioner Dwayne Depp.  “It will take a lot of effort to reach that goal, but we have a team of employees who dedicate themselves every single day to answering the paramount question of how to make the Commonwealth safer, healthier, and more productive for the 1.9 million people who work here.  I am proud of what we have accomplished since I came on board six months ago, and I look forward to implementing further initiatives to make our program, and the services we provide, even better.”

“Improving the OSH program is my number one policy priority,” added Secretary Dickerson.  “The recently published injury and illness rates by BLS provide us with good news, but we can do better.  In the coming months, the public should expect to see additional reforms within the Labor Cabinet for this purpose.  Whether it be reducing response times, embracing new technologies, re-thinking priorities, or incentivizing employee performance, everything is on the table.”

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