The United States Department of Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) recently released a white paper affirming their belief that requiring all employers to maintain an Injury Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) will lead to both a decrease in occupational injuries and death and a cost savings for employers.

To substantiate these claims the paper pulls from multiple studies to illustrate the cost of workplace injury and effectiveness of I2P2 programs.

Highlighted studies pointing to the cost of injury, death and illness include a study by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute stating the most disabling workplace injuries in 2008 cost employers $53 billion.

A second study by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), estimates the annual workers’ compensation benefits paid for all compensable injuries and illnesses in 2009 at $58 billion (National Academy of Social Insurance, 2011). NASI further reports the total costs paid by employers for workers’ compensation increased from $60 billion in 2000 to $74 billion in 2009.

In terms of savings OSHA both looked at independent studies and examined the injury and illness prevention programs in eight states where the state had either required a program or provided incentives or requirements through its workers’ compensation programs.

In researching state programs OSHA found reductions in injury and illness from 9 to 60 percent by implementing an I2P2.

A few examples of state programs and their effectiveness include:

  • Alaska which experienced a 17.4 percent decline injuries after requiring an I2P2
  • California which experienced a 19 percent decline in injuries after requiring an I2P2
  • Colorado which employers witnessed cumulative annual reduction in accidents of 23 percent and a cumulative reduction in accident costs between 58 and 62 percent.
  • Hawaii which witnessed a net reduction in injuries and illnesses of 20.7 percent.

Currently thirty-four states require or encourage employers to implement I2P2 programs.

The basic elements of these programs are management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement.

Each element is important in ensuring the success of the overall program, and the elements are interrelated and interdependent.

OSHA began working on requiring employers to maintain an I2P2 in 2010. However, OSHA Director David Michaels told a house subcommittee in November 2011 that he was unable to provide a timeline for future activity on I2P2. Considering that some of the pushback from Congress has surrounded the I2P2 proposal in particular, the standard’s progress may depend on the as-yet undecided federal FY 2012 budget.

If you would like more information on purchasing an I2P2 program call 877-201-8923.

Read OSHA’s entire white paper below.

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