OSHA Programs aim to reduce work injuries in Missouri and elsewhere

609764_playing_it_safe.jpgIn 2010, over three million American workers were injured and 4,690 were killed on the job, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As workers' compensation lawyers, we know these incidents can be costly, both personally and financially.

The 2011 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index found that the direct cost of the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses in 2009 was $50.1 billion in U.S. workers' compensation costs. That's almost one billion dollars per week.

"This money would be better spent on job creation and innovation. Injury and illness prevention programs are good for workers, good for business and good for America," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Injury and Illness Prevention Programs are designed to intervene in workplace environments where dangerous or unsafe conditions could potentially cause serious injury or even death. They aim to reduce the number and severity of preventable workplace accidents, which account for many of the nation's most common on-the-job injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) says each employer must (1) "furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees; and (2) comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act." The Administration urges employers to develop proactive programs that identify safety violations and potential hazards to workers. OSHA officials conduct informational seminars, interactive workshops and various training programs to help ensure the proper education of workers nationwide.

What makes an Injury and Illness Prevention Program successful?

• Management leadership
• Worker participation
• Hazard identification
• Hazard prevention and control
• Education and training
• Program evaluation and improvement