OSHA encourages adoption of injury, illness prevention programs
The agency has issued a white paper urging employers who have not done so to develop prevention programs. These "effective, flexible, commonsense" programs can "dramatically reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses," OSHA said.
Despite efforts to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, many U.S. employers have been slow to adopt safety cultures that emphasize planning and doing work in the safest way possible, according to the agency. Injury and illness prevention programs "need not be resource-intensive and can be adapted to meet the needs of any size organization."
"OSHA believes that adoption of injury and illness prevention programs based on simple, sound, proven principles will help millions of U.S. businesses improve their compliance with existing laws and regulations, decrease the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses, reduce costs -- including significant reductions in workers' compensation premiums -- and enhance their overall business operations," according to the document.
Included in the white paper are answers to and discussions on the following questions:
- How does an injury and illness prevention program work?
- What are the costs of workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths to employers, workers, and the nation?
- What is the evidence that injury and illness prevention programs protect workers and improve the bottom line?
- How widespread are injury and illness prevention programs?
- Are injury and illness prevention programs too complicated and expensive for small businesses?
Key elements of injury and illness prevention programs are management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement. Thirty-four states require or encourage employers to implement such programs.
"Injury and illness prevention programs are not new, nor are they untested," the white paper states. "Most large companies whose safety and health achievements have been recognized through government or industry awards cite their use of injury and illness prevention programs as their key to success."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
February 13, 2012
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