Thursday, July 2, 2009

Possible Explainations for Drop in I/L Rates

Here's the list of possible factors that have influenced the drop in Injury/Illness rates, in no particular order. If you have any ideas, leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I'll add it to the list, and thanks to the people who have sent me e-mails with additional ideas.
  1. The shift of jobs to other industries (note: when a manufacturer down sizes, it is usually the least experienced employees who are released, and we've all seen the studies on the lack of experience versus injury rate).
  2. Incentive/disincentive programs.
  3. Lack of significant recordkeeping cases.
  4. Loss of compliance staff.
  5. Increase in the number of safety and health professionals
  6. Internet access (I can tell you that many employers absolutely do not like to call OSHA for information, but they might access the website, which, if the rumor I heard was true, gets almost 1,000,000 hits per month).
  7. The first suggestion: "The growth of cooperative programs. I know many on the compliance side don't sometimes like these programs. But from an industry perspective, the programs are great. Take a look at the growth of the Voluntary Protection Program."
  8. Pressure on safety departments for reduction in injuries/illnesses
  9. Safety department with thin resources, administering work comp, liability insurance, environmental, training, and other outside duties.
  10. Resume padding
  11. Lack of follow up in high injury industries to determine recordability.
  12. Lack of injury reporting oversight: The risk of someone finding out about under-reporting when reporting is voluntary is minimal, making under-reporting is a slightly more attractive alternative.
  13. Litigious society. Employers getting pounded by lawsuits looking to reduce those related costs.
  14. Employers finally seeing the value and moral obligation of providing safe and healthful workplaces.
  15. In the west the diminishing base of heavy industry seems like an obvious choice, same goes for traditionally hazardous industries in the West such as logging and fisheries. Much of the aviation industry has disappeared from CA, and chemical and manufacturing work that is considered "polluting" has moved to China or overseas.
I've moved this list from the side to a blog posting so I could recover the space on the side.

My hope is that some one in academia will start to evaluate these different factors and not just assume that all businesses lie and that we don't know how to look at data.

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