By Samson Agboola, Research Administrator 1
The face of today’s workplace is rapidly changing. These changes present employers and occupational safety professionals alike with opportunities to align safety programs with current needs of the workplace. An example is the significant influx of young workers into the workplace. This shift is reflected in the changing workforce cultures to align with attitudes, beliefs and goals of young workers. Simply put, there are more young workers in the workforce today than ever before and statistics show that this trend is likely to continue. This change, as well as other significant changes, requires that employers stay current with safety needs in the workplace by investing in efforts to track and identify trends in workplace injuries and illness.
What do the stats say?
A good way to illustrate the value of tracking workplace safety is to take a quick look at currently available statistics. Did you know that workers between ages 16 and 19 have the highest rate by age group of severe injuries requiring one or more days away from work (DAFW) in Ohio’s private industries in 2014? The reported rate of 129.8 cases per 10,000 full time workers was almost double that of three years earlier. Another millennial age group (20-24) had the third highest rate in Ohio private industry. National statistics also indicates that this age group (16-19) had the second highest rate at 104.8. Did you also know that workers with less than three months on the job accounted for a higher proportion of cases requiring days away from work in 2014 than in previous years? These statistics are according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) program. This information emphasizes the importance of tracking safety in our individual workplaces and how aggregation of such information can be useful in identifying trends in workplace injuries and illnesses at both state and national level.
Simple ways to invest in prevention
A good first step towards staying informed of the types of hazards that exist in our workplaces is to ensure good recordkeeping of workplace injuries. This is the basis for a reliable injury and illness surveillance system. To stay current with workplace safety for all workers, young and old, there is a need to track safety through diligent recordkeeping and reporting; and regular review of safety measures. Information obtained from these processes is useful in ensuring that prevention and safety interventions continue to be responsive to current safety needs of the workplace. It is essential to keep in mind that measures designed to prevent (and reduce) injuries in the workplace are only as good as the information from which they are developed.
BWC commitment to tracking workplace safety
As part of efforts to prevent workplace injuries in Ohio to our millennials and to all employees, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has committed to a cooperative agreement with the BLS to gather information on workplace injuries and illnesses through the SOII program. The program provides annual rates, numbers and case characteristics information of workplace injuries and illnesses at both state and national levels. This information is gathered through confidential data collection from a random sample of employers. Establishments included in the survey are required to provide data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordkeeping logs and summaries (OSHA 300A or equivalent documents) and detailed case characteristics information on cases with one or more days away from work (OSHA 301 or its equivalent). This information is useful in identifying both general workplace hazards and ones that are specific to several criteria including industry and occupation. It also serves as a tool with which establishments can compare their injury rates with others in the same industry at both state and national level.
Safety needs in the workplace continue to evolve due to the nature of today’s changing work environments. One such change is the increasing population of young workers in the workplace. A simple way employers can stay current in efforts to ensure safety in the workplace is to practice good recordkeeping and reporting. One of the ways BWC continues to demonstrate its commitment to workplace safety is through administration of SOII in Ohio. The SOII program serves as the most robust source of information on non-fatal workplace injuries and illness in the nation. Through good recordkeeping and participation in this program employers contribute to identifying trends in injuries and illnesses in workplaces both in the state and the nation.
BWC remains a committed and reliable ally for all employers in Ohio towards preventing workplace injuries and improving safety in Ohio’s workplaces. For more information on our safety services please visit www.bwc.ohio.gov.
You can also find more information and statistics on workplace injuries and illnesses in Ohio from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses –on our website.
Have you heard about the Ohio Safety Congress? Are you attending? If you don’t currently have plans to, I strongly encourage you to consider attending. Ohio Safety Congress & Expo is the largest and longest-running occupational safety, health and workers’ compensation event in Ohio. The educational sessions offer useful information on techniques for injury and illness prevention, rehabilitation, return-to-work and cost savings. The Expo Marketplace is represented by numerous vendors with the latest services, industrial supplies, safety equipment and gear.
If you found value in this blog post, then you should plan to attend the two sessions I am co-presenting. One offers general information on the SOII program and the second session offers information on statistics of injuries in healthcare industry in Ohio. Click here for more information on Safety Congress.