Welcome remarks

William Wiatrowski
Bureau of Labor Statistics
July 11, 2012

Good morning. My name is Bill Wiatrowski and I am Associate Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. I want to thank our hosts for their warm welcome; this is my first time in Brussels and I am very much enjoying myself. I also want to thank Dr. Michaels of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for including the Bureau of Labor Statistics in this conference. I am very pleased to be here.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the sister agency to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Both are within the U.S. Department of Labor.

Our responsibility is to produce timely, relevant, and accurate statistics on the U.S. economy, including labor markets, prices, productivity, and worker safety and health.

You may know the Bureau of Labor Statistics from some of the more prominent statistics that we produce, including the monthly employment situation – the number of payroll jobs and the unemployment rate. We also produce the Consumer Price Index, Producer Price Index, productivity statistics, wage and benefit statistics, and international comparisons of various labor statistics.

Since the passage of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been responsible for producing safety and health statistics on an annual basis. In fact, our agency has produced information on worker safety and health in various forms throughout much of our 125 year history, but the OSH Act set us on a new course.

Today, the U.S. occupational safety and health statistics take the form of an annual survey of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses, conducted in a quarter-million workplaces. We also conduct an annual census of all fatal work injuries in the nation. Add to this various research projects designed to understand the details behind certain workplace injuries and illnesses and we have developed a comprehensive system of workplace safety and health surveillance.

I want to stress the importance that the Bureau of Labor Statistics places on impartiality of all of our statistics. We capture, process, and report the data, whatever they are.

I will be participating in the session on safety and health statistics at this conference, but I have a strong interest in all of the topics discussed this week. From green jobs to chemical exposure to nanotechnology and catastrophic events, safety and health statistics cross all of these topics and I look forward to learning more.

I have already run into old friends and made new friends; I look forward to making more friends throughout this week. My best wishes for the conference. Thank you.