The latest report by the U.S. Labor Department shows that business-related injuries and illnesses fell slightly in 2004.
In 2003, there were 5.0 cases of injury or illness per 100 full-time workers. In 2004, the rate was 4.8 of every 100 workers reported such cases, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Workers in the smallest businesses seemed to fare the best. Employees at businesses with less than 10 employees had a rate of only 1.9 cases. The rate at businesses with 50 to 249 workers had the highest rate, with 5.9 cases reported per 100 workers. The largest firms, a category that included those with more than 1,000 workers, had a rate of 5.4 cases per 100 workers.
The utilities industry was the only sector that saw an increase in reports of injuries or illnesses by its workers. Reports went up from 4.4 cases in 2003 to 5.2 in 2004, an increase that may serve as a good reminder to not play near power lines or gas pipes.