Kentucky worker injury rate hits record low
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state’s recordable, nonfatal occupational injury and illness rate has fallen to the lowest point on record, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet announced Wednesday.
The total recordable incidence rate for all industries fell to the lowest level since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began recording the data in 1996, according to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet Occupational Safety and Health Program annual report.
The fiscal year 2020 rate, based on 2019 BLS data, was 3.2 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers. Kentucky’s rate in 1996 was 8.4, when BLS began recording the data.
Kentucky’s incidence rate still remains slightly higher than the national average of 3.0, but the state has made strides toward closing the gap in recent years. The incidence rate was 4.5 in 2014, 3.8 in 2015, 3.7 in 2016, 3.4 in 2017, 3.3 in 2018, and 3.4 in 2019.
“While the incidence rate has steadily declined in recent years, there is still room for improvement, and our dedicated employees will remain relentless in their mission to enforce safety standards aimed at keeping all Kentucky workers safe,” Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts said.
The fiscal year 2020 lost time case rate for injuries and illnesses, established from fiscal year 2019 BLS data, was 1.6, matching the state’s previous record low rate achieved in 2019. Lost time injury and illness case rate is defined as days away from work without job restrictions or transfers.
The Kentucky Labor Cabinet is responsible for enforcing occupational safety and health (OSH) standards at workplaces throughout the commonwealth. Investigators within the Labor Cabinet’s Division of OSH Compliance inspect workplaces to identify unsafe, hazardous or unhealthy environments, stop practices that pose dangers, and cite companies who fail to uphold safety standards.
Kimberlee Perry, commissioner of the cabinet’s Department of Workplace Standards, said more emphasis on workplace safety by both employers and employees alike could be keeping the rates historically low. The OSH program has also been providing additional outreach in recent years, she said.
The Division of OSH Education & Training provides free consultation and training services for employers who wish to proactively identify and address OSH concerns through the KYSAFE program.
“The OSH consultation services provide an opportunity for the office to build alliances with Kentucky employers to promote safety, and as a result we work together toward providing safer environments for employees,” Perry said.