270736 Occupational injury recordkeeping knowledge and practices: Lessons from interviews with employers

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sara Wuellner, MPH , SHARP Program, WA State Dept. Labor & Industries, Olympia, WA
According to multiple studies, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates of occupational injuries and illnesses are lower than estimates from other data sources, including workers' compensation (WC) data. To identify possible explanations for lower SOII estimates, we interviewed respondents to the Washington State 2008 SOII about their injury recordkeeping knowledge and practices. Topics covered during the semi-structured in-person interview included: recordkeeping criteria, data sources, timelines, and training for SOII, OSHA logs, and WC claims. Respondents were selected for participation based on industry, employment size, and number of business locations within the state. Themes identified from the 113 interviews suggested a strong correlation in many industries between workers' compensation claims and OSHA recordable cases. Some respondents had little familiarity with OSHA logs and instead, completed the SOII at the end of the survey period using their WC claims data. Few participants expressed extensive knowledge of OSHA recordkeeping regulations; nuanced understanding of OSHA recordkeeping regulations tended to be concentrated among large multi-site employers in manufacturing and construction. Some discrepancy between SOII and WC data may be explained by the observation that WC data is used to complete the SOII; waiting for claim acceptance may delay reporting of the incident until after the survey period has passed. The study is limited by our inability to assess recordkeeping practices among sampled establishments who refused to be interviewed. Also, our findings may be unique to Washington State and not representative of states with different WC systems.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe common misunderstandings among SOII respondents of OSHA recordkeeping regulations.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the project coordinator on an ongoing grant evaluating multiple sources of occupational health surveillance data.
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.