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Study: Public workers suffer more injuries

Government employees are more likely to suffer workplace injuries than their private sector counterparts, according to new statistics from the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor Statistic announced Thursday that more than 3 million private sector workers, 3.3 percent, suffered workplace injuries or illnesses in 2013.

Meanwhile, about 746,000 public workers were injured or fell ill on the job in 2013.

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But work-related injuries and illnesses befell state and local government employees at a rate of 5.2 percent, which the Labor Department said “remains significantly higher than the private industry rate.”

Overall, injuries in both the private and government sectors declined slightly from 2012. 

"In this extraordinarily high number, it is easy to focus on the headline and miss the trend line," said David Michaels, assistant labor secretary for occupational safety and health. "We are encouraged that the rates continue to decline over the past few years, even during this period of healthy economic growth when we would expect the rate of injuries to rise."

The manufacturing, retail and utility sectors saw the biggest declines in injuries and illnesses among private employers.

More than 2 million, or 75 percent, of the private-sector injuries occurred in service industries.

The rate of serious injuries that may require employees to take time off of work also declined, but still accounts for more than half of the private-sector injuries.

The statistics were reported in the Labor Department’s survey of occupational injuries and illnesses.