The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has been vigilant in recent years in developing injury and illness prevention programs in order to keep workers safe at work.
Statesville workers’ compensation lawyers are concerned that even after the development and implementation of these prevention programs the nation averages 12 deaths a day while at work. In 2009, serious work illnesses and injuries in North Carolina and throughout the country were a staggering 3.3 million, not to mention the 4,300 deaths occurring in the workplace. In 2008, the average amount spent on workers’ compensation costs nationwide was more than $1 billion a week. Think about all the jobs that could be created if employers took the initiative to prevent work injuries and illnesses which would result in saving the nation $53.42 billion annually in workers’ compensation costs.
According to OSHA, the following are examples of effective Injury and Illness Prevention Programs:
Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): these programs are a proactive and cooperative approach by employees, management and OSHA to prevent illnesses, injuries and deaths by focusing on worksite analysis, employee training and hazard control and prevention.
OSHA Challenge Program: OSHA provides an online roadmap to employees to help them achieve VPP requirements. OSHA then recognizes any employer who has made valid improvements to their safety and health management systems. Click here to view some of OSHA’s Challenge success stories.
Alliance Program Case Studies: examples of case studies are provided to employers to demonstrate the positive effects of a successful health and safety program.
Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP): small employers are recognized for their efforts to implement a safety and health management system. Click here to view some of the successful SHARP stories.
North Carolina is one of 34 states that have guidelines established for employers to implement a health and safety program within their organization in order to protect workers from being injured or contracting an illness while performing a work task. Any North Carolina employer who employs 11 or more workers and has an experience rate modifier of 1.5 or above is required to have an Employee Safety and Health Committee. Each committee member will be trained and educated by employers on the following:
-How to identify a hazard in the workplace.
-How to conduct an effective accident or incident investigation.
-Define the employer and employee rights and responsibilities as directed by the Safety and Health Programs and Committees Act and Mine Safety Laws.
-How to keep and meet accurate recordkeeping requirements set forth by North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act and Mine Safety Laws.
-Provided knowledge of the most common causes and cited violations of workplace accidents.
Members of the committee have a responsibility to protect workers and ensure that employers are doing everything in their power to keep workers safe on the job. The goal of all North Carolina employers should be to have zero work accidents each and every day.
Contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. if you need experienced advice about a work-related illness or injury in North or South Carolina. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals Puts Workers at Risk of Suffering Long-Term Health Issues in Statesville, Elsewhere, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, December 19, 2011.