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Report Shows Continued Decline in Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

11.2.16

The article, “Report Shows Continued Decline in Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” featured in SHRM, examined the many factors that may have contributed to a drop in reported workplace injuries.

Howard Mavity discussed how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has shifted its focus from core safety issues to injury reporting.

OSHA was created by the federal government more than 40 years ago to carry out the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the agency has had a positive effect on workplace safety, said Howard. But the current leadership has shifted its focus away from core safety issues and toward reporting, he added.

Although the statistics show that injuries have decreased for 12 of the last 13 years, the administration continues to devote more resources to try to compel injury reporting, Howard said.

The agency has said it's concerned that employers are underreporting incidents and that employees are afraid to report injuries due to fear of retaliation.

Howard said, however, that there's no denying that the workplace is getting safer. Although there are some unscrupulous employers out there, most employers want to comply with safety standards, he added.

He said the agency should be focused on the aging workforce and health issues faced by workers of all ages.

"That's what is likely to lead to workplace safety issues in the future," he said. "Employers might not notice the burgeoning issues in the pipeline."

Heart attacks, heat illnesses and other employee health issues can impact employers, he noted, even if those issues are more about lifestyle than workplace safety.

To read the full article, please visit SHRM.

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