Workers Memorial Day highlights 40th anniversary of federal agencies
Both OSHA and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health are 40 years old this year. NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard took the occasion of Workers Memorial Day on April 28 to focus on safety and health challenges facing the country as it recovers from the economic recession.
Howard addressed what he called the emerging challenges of the 21st century, including:
- The increasingly diverse workforce. Howard said there are increasingly more immigrant, contingent, temporary, and contract workers who are more likely to hold inherently hazardous jobs and have unique challenges.
- New technologies. Howard said we must couple the development of beneficial new products or processes with responsible risk assessment and control.
- Threats of large-scale disasters. Emergency preparedness and response has become an "inherent function for occupational safety and health professionals," Howard said.
- Dramatic changes in work organization, scheduling, and resource allocation that result in faster, more physically demanding, and more irregularly scheduled work requires identifying and addressing risk factors for work-related stress and fatigue.
With the economic realities, Howard said we need to meet the challenges strategically and collaboratively. "By reducing the toll of injury and illness, businesses can reduce the costs of workers' comp, disability, hours of work missed, and other losses that amount nationally to billions of dollars every year," he said.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
May 19, 2011
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