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Work-related injuries are costly, geographically diverse

Published: Thursday, Aug. 9 2012 5:37 p.m. MDT

Work-related injuries are not only costly but recent research has found that they also vary significantly based upon geographic location and that the most dangerous jobs aren't unique to factories anymore.

"The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down the number of injuries and illnesses by industry, with some surprising results," according to The Atlantic. "Nursing and residential care facilities rank in the top 10 most dangerous (14.7 injuries per 100 full-time workers for state industries and 10.9 for local industries). In comparison, petroleum refinery incidences barely register (at 0.7 cases per 100 full-time workers), according to another table."

Job-related injuries and illnesses in the United States cost the nation an estimated $250 billion per year, according to a study released earlier this year, U.S. News reported.

"It's unfortunate that occupational health doesn't get the attention it deserves," said study author J. Paul Leigh, a professor of public health sciences at the University of California, Davis, in the U.S. News article. "The costs are enormous and continue to grow. And the potential for health risks are high, given that most people between the ages of 22 to 65 spend 40 percent of their waking hours at work."

Another recent study found that providing paid sick leave to employees could be an effective way to mitigate injuries at the workplace and reduce costs for companies, though the data cannot provide an absolute conclusion.

"Using data on about 38,000 workers from a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that from 2005 to 2008 the injury rate per 100 workers among those with paid sick leave was 2.59, compared with 4.18 among those without," reported the New York Times.

The location of a job has been found to have a considerable impact on the rate of workplace injuries across the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found.

"There are significant disparities in the geography of injury and illness," reported The Atlantic. "The 2010 numbers for nonfatal injury and illness for private industry show that Maine has the highest recorded incidence rate, 5.6 injuries per 100 full-time workers). Washington, D.C., has the lowest incidence rate of 1.9."

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