The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in October that injury and illness rates among private industry employers are down from a total case rate of 4.2 in 2007 to 3.9 in 2008. The bureau also reported a decline in non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses from 4 million cases in 2007 to 3.7 million cases in 2008.

“Preventable workplace injuries and illnesses affect millions of American workers every year, many with lifelong effects,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

“While I am cautiously optimistic that these decreases in injury and illness rates represent change in the right direction, they do not lessen the need for strong enforcement to ensure that safety is a top priority in every workplace.

“To help verify the accuracy of injury and illness records, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a National Emphasis Program on Recordkeeping that will help assure the accuracy of injury and illness data reported by employers,” Solis continued. “(The) report prompts us to step up our vigilance on accurate recordkeeping, particularly as the economy regains momentum.”