Although Utah made some headway in 1993 in reducing the number of work-related injuries, the state still ranks higher than the national average in the number of industrial injuries per 100 workers.

According to a study released by the State Industrial Commission's Occupational Safety and Health Division, Utah had 49,000 non-fatal injuries and illnesses in private industry in 1993, a rate of 9.8 cases for every 100 full-time workers. That was higher than the national rate of 8.5 injuries per 100 workers, based on 6.7 million injuries and illnesses, but still a decline from 10.2 per 100 in 1992.Of the total number of non-fatal injuries in private industry in 1993, 46,400 resulted in lost work time, medical treatment other than first aid, loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion or transfer to another job. The remaining 2,600 of the private industry cases were work-related ill-nesses.

The survey said construction workers had 16.2 injuries per 100 employers; 13 in manufacturing, transportation and public utilities, 10.7; agriculture and forestry, 10.4; wholesale and retail trade, 8.8; services, 8.6 percent; mining, 6.7; and finance, insurance and real estate, 2.2

Industrial Commissioner Tom Carlson said he has no idea why Utah's accident rate is higher than the national average, but it has been the same for several years, ranging from a low of 8.5 in 1983 to 10.6 in 1990.

He said the higher rate in Utah could be attributed to Utah being a smaller state with a good reporting system, a relatively comprehensive workers' compensation system that requires reporting and a standardized reporting system for workers' compensation and OSHA systems.

In an effort to prevent accidents, Carlson said, earlier this year the Legislature passed HB310 that put the burden on employers to pay benefits for permanent totally disabled injured workers for the remainder of their lives rather than putting them under the Employers Reinsurance Fund.

The thought behind that legislation was that if employers were responsible for the long-term benefit payments, they would do more to make the work place safer.

Carlson said another effort is the restructuring in the OSHA Division that ties in with the reporting system. That allows the division to concentrate on industries with the most accidents. Also, the division does upon-request inspections without the fear of citations.

Here are some of the other results of the survey:

-Wholesale trade, transportation and public utilities industries were the only areas to show accident increases in 1993, while the others remained the same as 1992 or dropped slightly.

- Injury incidence rates were higher for midsize companies (between 50 and 500 workers) than for the smaller and larger companies.

- 19,000 injuries and illnesses were serious enough to require recuperation away from work, to restrict duties at work, or both.

- Manufacturing accounted for 50 percent of all newly reported occupational illnesses.