ITASCA, IL-Today's workers are safer on the job than they are at home, and these nonwork-related accidents are costing businesses plenty.

According to the National Safety Council, recent gains in lowering workplace death rates-down 17 percent since 1992-have been undone by the rate of fatalities occurring off the job, up 14 percent in that same period.

"The business costs of off-the-job accidents is staggering when you take into account lost wages and productivity, medical and disability payments, and training for new employees," says Alan C. McMillan, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

According to 2004 National Safety Council statistics being presented at the nation's first Off the Job Safety Symposium in Orlando later this month, twice as many workers, about 6.8 million, were seriously injured while off the job than were injured while working. Of the 49,000 injury-related deaths in 2004 involving workers, roughly 90 percent occurred while employees were off the job.

In 2004, the cost of employee injuries, both on and off the job, was more than $330 billion. Nearly 60 percent of that total was for injuries to employees who were off the job. In addition, off-the-job injuries accounted for employers losing 165 million days of production time, compared with 80 million lost workdays resulting from workplace injuries.

The Off-the-Job Safety Symposium is being held at Disney's Contemporary Resort in Orlando, FL, Feb. 15-16.