The Washington Department of Labor & Industries is taking issue with a study showing the state to have among the highest rates of work-related injuries. The agency says the study is misleading.

It points out the study by personal injury law firm Bader Scott relies on Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injury and Illness (SOII) data on non-fatal occupational injuries and illness in Washington.  

The Department of Labor & Industries contends the recognized authoritative data source for comparing one state to another is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injury – (CFOI). 

Under the SOII metric, Washington seems to be struggling compared to other states, but in the CFOI, Washington state usually has one of the lowest fatality rates in the country. 

Labor & Industries spokesperson Matt Ross says workplace fatalities are a more accurate measuring stick of workplace safety. 

"Fatalities are reported consistently in the same way across all states, and it's the best apples to apples comparison we have," said Ross. 

U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show Washington consistently has one of the lowest workplace fatality rates in the country. 

Washington's death rate of less the two per 25,000 workers is only matched by California, Arizona and Wisconsin.  

The Department of Labor & Industries also claims workplace injuries are underreported, perhaps based on the understanding and enforcement of OSHA recordkeeping rules within a state and on other factors, such as whether a state has restrictive laws for accessing workers compensation benefits. 

Ross says states requiring longer wait times before claiming the benefits have less reporting of worker injuries. 

"That benefit is there to help workers recover from injuries," Ross said. "And so, you're more likely, if you have quick access to benefits, you're more likely to report your injury and get access to those things, which means it's more likely to be tracked in the statistics." 

States where a worker has to wait 7 days before claiming workers compensation benefits have reported non-fatal injury rates that are 30-40% lower than states with only a 3-day waiting period, such as Washington. 

In addition, U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show states with low job-related injury rates tend to have a high fatal occupational death rates. 

11 Very Popular Jobs in Washington State

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ