Workplace safety has long been a major priority for state and local governments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has spent decades trying to improve safety conditions for workers across the country. While these efforts have reduced the number of deaths and serious injuries in the workplace, serious problems still remain.
The agency recently reported that 12 workers die on the job every day, which adds up to over 4,500 workers a year. Additionally, each year 4.1 million workers have some type of serious illness or injury that is often preventable. These numbers have remained somewhat consistent over time, meaning that new initiatives may be necessary to address the issue.
OSHA recently released a white paper that is focused on reducing the number of deaths, as well as serious illnesses and injuries in the workplace, by making employers devote more resources to worker safety. The agency is encouraging employers to adopt an “injury and illness prevention program” (I2P2) in an effort to improve worker awareness regarding potentially dangerous conditions.
The report gives guidance to employers in setting up their I2P2 plans. Employers are encouraged to work together with their employees to create a plan that is effectively addresses the issues that may lead to workplace accidents.
Currently, 15 states have already made injury prevention programs mandatory for employers. OSHA has examined the programs in these states, and believes that I2P2 programs will help reduce the accident rate by 15 to 35 percent. Even if the program is only 15 percent effective, it will lead to a $9 billion dollar savings in workers’ compensation costs throughout the United States.