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Report Calls On Agencies to Create ‘Smarter’ Injury Surveillance

By Christine Torres

factory worker wearing hardhat compiling report

The results from a yearlong occupational safety and health survey that was requested and funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows that there is “a dire need” for these agencies to team up to enhance surveillance programs. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, there are 17 specific recommendations for the three entities to create a collaborative system with state governments to strengthen coordination and data sharing of workplace injury information.

“We are experiencing rapid changes in the nature of work, and with new risks developing, the nation is in dire need of a smarter surveillance system that tracks occupational injuries, illnesses and exposures,” said Edward Shortliffe, Arizona State University professor of biomedical informatics and chair of the report committee.

Improving Workplace Data Sharing

The report said that coordination and data sharing needs to be strengthened “across federal agencies, between federal and state agencies, across state agencies (e.g., labor and health), and with employers and workers to result in the maximum possible engagement of all.”

In the U.S., work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths reportedly cost $250 million annually. The report also points out that data collection emphasizes health outcomes, but does not adequately help with hazard and exposure information. Advanced analytical technology used by all agencies could help strengthen surveillance efforts while organizing education and training efforts, according to the report.

study shows ways OSHA and other entities can work together

“Ensuring and improving worker safety and health is a serious commitment, and federal and state agencies, along with other stakeholders, should diligently act upon it,” Shortliffe said.

The National Academies study piggybacks on separate reports from BLS and OSHA for 2017 that each show workplace accidents and deaths are increasing. As workplace procedures change in a facility, safety programs must also. Accident prevention begins with clear and compliant visual communication. For more in-depth information, download a free Best Practice Guide to OSHA Safety Signs. The guide provides an overview on labeling in accordance with OSHA and ANSI standards, instructions for creating custom signs, and more.

Strengthen Injury Prevention Communication

Graphic Products is an industry leader in safety compliance education and solutions. From safety guides and videos, to popular safety solutions, Graphic Products provides up-to-date industrial safety news and resources. Develop strong custom visual communication with DuraLabel industrial label and sign printers. These quick-action, convenient machines can accommodate various supplies, sizes, and types of signs for the ability to create the right signage for any facility. For a variety of application-specific supply for use in low-light areas, on abrasive or uneven surfaces, and harsh environments, choose from more than 50 labeling supplies.

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