Study Shows OSHA Inspections Save Lives and Money
Random workplace safety inspections by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) result in dramatic decreases in injury claims and workers’ compensation costs, according to a new study conducted by business school economists at the University of California and Harvard University.
The study found that workplace injury claims dropped 9.4 percent at businesses in the four years following a random OSHA inspection compared with employers not inspected. Those same employers also saved an average of 26 percent on workers’ compensation costs compared to similar companies not inspected.
“The benefits of a randomized safety inspection appear to be substantial,” the researchers concluded. “These results do not support the hypothesis that OSHA regulations and inspections on average have little value in improving health and safety.”
In addition, the researchers found no evidence that these improvements came at the expense of employment, sales, credit ratings or firm survival. The study observed benefits among both large and small employers, with the average employer saving $355,000 as a result of an inspection.
To schedule a Saint Francis Medical Center physician to assess your workplace, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.
Workplace Safety Includes Flu Prevention
Employers can minimize the transmission of seasonal flu virus in the workplace by implementing some basic precautions to protect workers and visitors.
Consider contracting with a local healthcare provider to host a flu vaccination clinic at your workplace. The easier you make it for workers to access the vaccine, the more likely they are to take advantage of the offer.
Encourage sick workers to stay home
As much as people might want to “tough it out,” it is not in their best interest or anyone else’s for them to come to work. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay home until at least 24 hours after their fever falls below 100 degrees without the use of medication.
Workers are more likely to follow flexible sick leave policies that encourage this practice without penalty.
Promote hand hygiene and cough etiquette
Regardless of whether you work in healthcare, food service or an industrial setting, proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette can minimize the spread of flu virus. Ensure that workers and visitors alike have easy access to hand-washing stations, no-touch wastebaskets for tissues, alcohol-based hand rubs and disposable towels.
Proper hand hygiene includes washing after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or contacting contaminated objects or surfaces. Rub soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds and dry completely. When using an alcohol-based hand rub, apply liquid to the palm of the hand, cover all surfaces of the hands with the liquid, and rub hands together until they are dry.
Cough etiquette goes beyond merely covering your mouth. It is best to cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of the used tissue into a no-touch wastebasket.
Keep the workplace clean
Provide disinfectants and disposable towels at multiple locations. Frequently clean all surfaces, including countertops, door knobs and common telephones.
To learn more about how Saint Francis Medical Center can help with flu precaution in the workplace, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.
Use Caution When Interpreting Drug Tests
While urine drug screening can enhance workplace safety, interpreting the results entails an understanding of test details and common explanations for false-positive and false-negative results. Legally mandated drug testing requires the expertise of a Certified Medical Review Officer (CMRO).
A CMRO is a physician who is responsible for receiving, reviewing and evaluating results of drug testing programs. They are also responsible for determining whether there is a legitimate explanation for unexpected test results as well as protecting confidentiality.
In most cases, a positive result indicates use of a drug within the previous one to three days. Marijuana is an exception in that it can show up in drug screens for weeks after heavy use, while the window for detecting heroin use is only a few hours.
To learn more about how Saint Francis Medical Center can help with drug testing in the workplace, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.