More than 3.3 million workplace injuries occur each year in the U.S., and approximately 12 work-related deaths occur daily, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. What is possibly just as shocking as these statistics is the fact that such preventable injuries and deaths cost roughly $1 billion each week. In an effort to protect U.S. workers and reduce the number of workers compensation claims filed, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is pushing hard to have the federal government enact legislation that would require employers to have injury and illness prevention programs in place.
Currently, only 15 U.S. have laws that make IIPPs mandatory, though many employers throughout the U.S. have voluntarily devised and adopted their own injury and illness prevention programs to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries (and likely to also reduce their insurance premiums).
The following are some frequently asked questions (and answers) regarding injury and illness prevention programs, as well as OSHA’s current push to make them mandatory:
- How much more work does OSHA have to do before getting IIPPs to be mandatory for employers?
With it being still early in 2013, OSHA regulators still have a lot of work to do in terms of developing a viable proposal for mandatory injury and illness prevention programs. Currently, OSHA is concentrating on gathering comments from various types of businesses nationwide to develop an initial draft of the proposal. Once drafted and publically presented, there will be a comment period, which will be followed by more in-depth public hearings during which the proposal will be tweaked in order to make it as comprehensive and effective as possible.
- Will IIPP violations be cited as OSHA violations or vice versa?
At this point, IIPP violations are being viewed as distinct from OSHA violations, which means that a citation for one will not result in a citation for the other. However, this distinction may change during the course of the proposal process described above.
- What happens if my employer or the business that I own/manage already has an IIPP in place?
Likely nothing as long as the minimum requires for establishing and running injury and illness prevention programs, per OSHA standards, are met. It’s important to point out that OSHA’s goal is to reach out to businesses that have NO IIPP currently in place and that the agency is not interested in forcing compliant businesses with successful IIPPs to make unnecessary, costly changes.
If you or a loved one has sustained any type of workplace injury, the Boulder workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Michael P. Dominick encourage you to learn more about your legal rights and receive a free, professional assessment of your case by calling (303) 447-2644.