Rates of serious workplace injury and illness vary significantly between states, even for workers in the same industries, according to a recent report.
Allsup, a provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation, said its report is based on data obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The report, “Allsup Study of Workplace Injuries,” spotlights the most work-threatening industries by location, based on the rates of injuries that are serious enough to involve “days of job transfer or restriction.”
“At a time when nearly 9 million workers are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits—many of whom were originally injured on the job—this report should draw attention to the widely varying rates of worker injury across states,” said Mike Stein, Allsup assistant vice president of claims.
States with Highest Rates
The states with the highest rate of workplace injuries that involve days of job transfer or restriction per 100 workers are: Maine with 1.4 injury or illness cases with job transfer or restriction per 100 workers; Indiana, 1.1; California, 1.0; Connecticut, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wisconsin with 0.9; and Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington at 0.8.
These states all have rates higher than the national average of 0.7 injury or illness cases with job transfer or restriction per 100 workers.
Data for 2011 are not available for nine states: Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island and South Dakota.
Industries With Highest Rates
The report includes information on the 11 industry groups with the highest serious injury rates per 100 workers nationwide:
- Amusement parks and arcades: 3.2 cases involving job transfer or restriction in 2011 per 100 workers
- Animal slaughtering and processing: 3.1
- Beverage manufacturing: 2.7
- Foundries: 2.7
- Nursing care facilities: 2.6
- Beer, wine, and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers: 2.4
- Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing: 2.3
- Hog and pig farming: 2.2
- Motor vehicle manufacturing: 2.2
- Community care facilities for the elderly: 2.2
- Poultry and egg production: 2.2
The study also shows the variation between locales within the same industry group. For example, serious injury rates in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry group ranged from 1.1 in Tennessee to 3.5 in North Carolina. Michigan equaled the national average at 2.2.
According to Allsup’s research, the state-level industry with the highest rates of serious injury is animal slaughtering and processing in Oregon, with 8.3 cases involving job transfer or restriction per 100 workers in 2011. The U.S. average is 3.1.
Injury Rates & SSDI
SSDI provides monthly income to workers who experience a severe, long-term disability expected to last 12 months or longer. The Social Security Administration administers the program, which has stringent requirements to qualify for benefits. Employees pay for this federally mandated insurance coverage through FICA payroll taxes.
More than 1 million U.S. workers each year experience an injury that causes them to miss a day or more of work. The Social Security Administration says injuries are the sixth-leading cause of SSDI claims.
Some claims not filed as injuries involve conditions that can be job-related. For example, musculoskeletal conditions make up the largest category of SSDI claims. This group includes impairments such as degenerative back disorders that can be caused or exacerbated by work and hamper an individual’s ability to find new employment.
“The injury issue takes on new importance in light of our aging population and the fact that the trust fund supporting SSDI is projected to reach insolvency in just three years,” said David Bueltemann, manager of senior claimant representatives at Allsup.
By 2016, if no changes are made to financing the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, benefits will automatically decrease by an estimated 20 percent, according to the report.