Heavily industrialized Northwest Indiana may remain a relatively dangerous place to work, with injuries at steel mills and fatalities including a 23-year-old tradesman who died after a fall last month at the BP Whiting Refinery, but the overall amount of workplace injuries and illnesses in Indiana fell to an all-time low last year.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week in its Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses that the Hoosier state had an estimated 3.3 injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time workers in 2018, a 6% decline as compared to 3.5 injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time workers the previous year, which itself was a record low.

The manufacturing-intensive state had 11.3 injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time workers in 1994, but the rate has plummeted by 71% since then.

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“Workplace health and safety have been improving steadily in Indiana for over the past 25 years, and continues to improve,” Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick Ruble said. “Indiana has 86 companies in the state’s Voluntary Protection Program, and 41 companies in the state’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. These companies have made a vested commitment to improving worker safety and health. It’s this kind of commitment that has enabled Indiana to reduce nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses year over year.”

The biggest year-over-year decline in workplace industries in Indiana was in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry, which declined by 32.1% as compared to 2017.

Local government also saw an 11.5% year-over-year statewide.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.