250237 Underreporting of workplace injuries and illnesses - What has changed and what is still needed to ensure accurate job injury/illness data

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:00 PM

Nancy Lessin, MS , United Steelworkers - Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education, Boston, MA
Employers in facilities where workplace catastrophes have occurred frequently tout their safety awards for low injury rates as evidence of their good safety records and programs. Employer-kept injury/ illness statistics continue to come under scrutiny from academic and government sources for their unreliability in predicting catastrophic system failures, and for their lack of reliability in reflecting true workplace injury/illness experience. Despite identified problems including recent inspection results from OSHA's Recordkeeping National Emphasis Program confirming problems with employer-kept injury/illness data, OSHA continues to use employer-kept injury/illness data to exempt employers from programmed inspections as well as to allow employers to enter into and remain in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program. This presentation will present an update on employer practices that discourage workers from reporting injuries and illnesses, assess OSHA's Recordkeeping NEP and other attempts to address the accuracy of job injury/illness data, and evaluate other strategies aimed at assuring the accuracy of work-related injury/illness data.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
(1) Identify impacts of continuing reliance on employer-kept injury and illness statistics on underreporting/under-recording of workplace injuries and illnesses; (2) Evaluate recent government activities (including OSHA’s Recordkeeping National Emphasis Program) aimed at assessing and addressing the underreporting and under-recording of workplace injuries and illnesses, (3) Identify and evaluate additional strategies to address the underreporting and under-recording of workplace injuries and illnesses and ensure more accurate data

Keywords: Occupational Health, Occupational Injury and Death

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been presenting educational programs on occupational safety and health for over 30 years, including presentations on underreporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. I have helped to design and evaluate worker surveys describing employer policies, practices and programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries and illnesses. I served for five years on the National Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, advising OSHA and NIOSH on their policies and programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.