The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) is calling on employers to take steps to protect America’s workers from injury and illness in response to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occurred in private industry in 2018, unchanged from the previous year. It was the first time since 2012 that the incidence rate did not decrease.
“Stagnant injury rates are unacceptable and a clear call to employers nationwide to take a harder look at their approach to workplace safety and health,” said ASSP President Diana Stegall, CSP, CFPS, ARM, SMS, CPCU. “Incidents that harm workers are occurring far too often in every industry. Most occupational injuries and illnesses are preventable given today’s technologies and proven safety and health strategies.”
ASSP, which represents more than 39,000 occupational safety and health professionals worldwide, recommends that employers implement safety and health management systems and adopt strategies to better protect worker well-being on and off the job. Both can help companies create true safety cultures by shifting from compliance-based approaches to risk-based programs.
Safety and health management systems set an operational foundation that enables organizations to integrate critical processes to help improve safety performance. These systems can help companies continuously identify and eliminate safety and health risks, reducing the potential of a worker getting injured or becoming ill. The ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 standard is a blueprint for any company to develop and administer a safety and health management system.
In addition, organizations should use next-generation approaches such as Total Worker Health to move beyond traditional wellness initiatives and take a broader view of worker well-being. An ASSP task force is exploring opportunities to holistically address environmental and organizational factors that affect an employee’s safety and health. Total Worker Health, a term created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), calls for employers to be more cognizant of stressors that occur inside and outside the workplace that impact a worker’s behavior.
“There are widespread benefits when a business makes occupational safety and health a priority,” Stegall said. “Not only do workers return home safe to their loved ones, but quality and productivity flourish, helping organizations achieve sustainable growth, meet social responsibilities and be viewed as employers of choice.”
For more information about ASSP and its commitment to creating safe work environments, visit www.assp.org.