While the number of workplace injury claims filed has improved, preventable illnesses and injuries continue to cost employers billions of dollars and employees their lives, according to Lisa Weis, compliance assistance specialist with the Cleveland office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Weis addressed 230 members of the Mahoning Valley Safety Council at its annual OSHA update on April 18, where according to The Business Journal in Youngstown, Ohio, she provided these sobering statistics:
- 4000 Americans die annually from workplace injuries and 50,000 die of illnesses from workplace exposure.
- More than 3 million suffer serious, nonfatal injuries and illnesses each year.
- This costs the economy nearly $2 billion per year.
In OSHA’s Region V—which includes Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin—Weis says the three primary causes of fatalities are workers struck by something, falls at work, and workers caught in something.
If a company has recorded fatalities in these categories, Weis recommends double- and triple-checking how employees are exposed to them. The review should begin with understanding the OSHA standards that apply to the employer.
A safety and health program not only creates a safe and healthy workplace, Weis says it is a way for the employer to save money.
From a study of small employers in Ohio enrolled in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, slightly more than 50% saw a decrease in the average number of claims, costs per claim decreased 80%, average time lost per claim decreased 87%, and claims per million dollars of payroll decreased 88%.
“It’s the writing on the wall,” Weis told The Business Journal. “If you have these kinds of programs in place, it’s very beneficial and you’re going to save money along the way.”