Safety Council: Out-of-Work Injuries an Increasing Workplace Issue

February 7, 2006 ( - Your workplace may be as safe as a baby's crib, but you are far from home free when it comes to injuries affecting your ability to work.

A news release from the National Safety Council said that the number of non-workplace fatalities is up 14% since 1992 – completely undoing the effects of the 17% drop in deaths at the workplace during that same period.

In fact, according to 2004 National Safety Council statistics, twice as many workers (6.8 million) were seriously injured while off the job than were injured while working. Of the 49,000 injury-related deaths in 2004 involving workers, roughly 90% occurred while employees were off the job.

The lost time is costing employers a great deal. In 2004, the cost of employee injuries – both on and off the job – was more than $330 billion. Nearly 60% ($200 billion) was for injuries to employees who were off the job. In addition, off-the-job injuries accounted for employers losing 165 million days of production time, compared with 80 million lost workdays as a result of workplace injuries.

The announcement said that more and more employers are recognizing the value of keeping their employees safe at all times – both on and off the job. In a recent National Safety Council survey of 1,300 companies of varying sizes, the impact of off-the-job safety training has begun to be felt at businesses that have implemented programs. Of those who have put in place off-the-job programs, 58% reported reductions in injuries occurring outside of work.

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