Washington State Worksites Continued Safety Trend in 2000

Continuing a trend begun almost 10 years ago, Washington workers suffered slightly fewer injuries and illnesses in 2000 than they did the previous year, according to survey results released by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries.

The overall 2000 workplace injury and illness rate indicates that Washington workplaces were safer than 1999. The continuing drop in the numbers means that Washington workplaces were almost 25 percent safer in 2000 than they were in the early 1990s.

Despite the continuing improvement, however, Washington workers still suffer job-related injuries and illnesses at a higher rate than the national average.

The survey showed that 8.3 out of every 100 full-time workers in Washington suffered a job-related injury or illness in 2000, down from the 8.9 rate posted in 1999. This rate was as high as 11.3 in 1992. Since that time, there has been a continuous trend of steady improvement.

The national rate — which includes only private-sector employees — was 6.1 per 100 full-time workers in 2000. Washington’s private-sector rate was 8.5. per 100 full-time workers.

Overall, 3.5 per 100 Washington workers were seriously enough injured or became ill enough to require time off from work or modified duties to recover. That number was 3.7 in 1999.

All major industries except the finance, insurance and real estate category, which went from 2.3 to 2.5 from 1999 to 2000, reported improved numbers in 2000. In construction, for instance, the injury and illness rate dropped from 15.0 in 1999 to 14.4 in 2000.

As in the past, the construction industry’s 14.4 rate accounted for the highest incident rate among all industries. Manufacturing, with an 11.1 rate, was next, followed by agriculture’s 10.9 rate.