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Though workplace injuries are decreasing, public-sector employees are more likely to need a day or two off to recuperate than their counterparts in the private sector.

According to the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics the total number of nonfatal injury and illness cases that required days away from work fell 9% in 2009. But the incident rate for local and state government workers was 185 and 180 cases per 10,000 employees, respectively, versus 106 for industry. Transit and intercity bus drivers are among the occupations with the highest injury rates.

Musculoskeletal disorders represent one-third of cases.

It's encouraging to see a reduction, but economic conditions may have weighed heavily on the decline,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels. “A decrease in employment and total hours worked leads to fewer workers exposed to hazards.”