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Workplace injuries decline, but severity increases

Workplace accidents and injuries can be very serious for workers in Ohio. Work injuries are no laughing matter as many workers suffer long-term injuries every year in the state and across the country. 

Companies are supposed to keep workplaces safe and protect workers from being injured. A new report found that workplace injuries have declined in the United States, but the severity of injuries and illnesses among workers has actually gotten worse.

It is good news that workplace injuries and illnesses have decreased last year in the U.S. However, it is troubling that the severity of injuries and illnesses has increased. Why would injuries decline but the severity of injuries increase?

The report found that work-related injuries and illnesses in the U.S. that resulted in workers missing work declined to 112 per 10,000 workers. In 2011, there were 117 cases for every 10,000 workers. The decline is not very large but it still suggests an improvement in the number of workers being injured on-the-job.

The more disturbing part of the report was that more workers suffered serious injuries that resulted in missing more days from work. The report found that workers missed a median of nine days from work after an injury in 2012. In 2011, workers missed eight days after an injury. This increase is also small but it suggests that workers are suffering more serious injuries that requires additional time to recover before returning to work.

The longer it takes for an injured worker to return to work, the bigger impact it has on their paycheck. Many injured workers not only miss work but also require some medical treatment or therapy before returning to work. Affording medical care can be tricky, especially if you are missing several weeks or months of work as well. 

Injured workers in Ohio should consider applying for workers' compensation benefits after a workplace accident or injury. Workers' compensation can provide benefits to help workers pay for medical care and treatment as well as lost wages. 

Source: Crain News Service, "U.S. workplace injury rate declines but severity up," Sheena Harrison, Nov. 27, 2013

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