Some of the workplace safety trends that experts are predicting for 2013 include new OSHA regulations, an increasingly heightened attention to OSHA enforcement and an increase in costs of OSHA citations. In addition to these trends, industry professionals are also hypothesizing that the following will play a role in workplace safety trends for 2013:
- Reforms to Workers Compensation Laws: In this area, all states will be focused on California in 2013, as the state will be the guinea pig for testing out a new system that will be aimed at increasing workers compensation payments to injured workers while simultaneously trying to not raise costs to employers and insurance companies. In the coming year, California will attempt to make this seemingly paradoxical reform by enacting a new system for dealing with medical treatments and billing disputes, attempting to pare down the administrative burdens to the system and trying to decrease litigation expenses. While these workers compensation reforms are expected to save employers about $1.7 billion, critics argue that it will not work unless the rate at which workers compensation benefits in California slows down. However, if it does work, it will set a precedent for the rest of the U.S. in terms of workers compensation reforms.
- A Heightened Focus on Workplace Injuries and Work Fatality Rates: Workplace injuries and fatalities have been on the rise in the U.S. over the past few years. In order to try to assess the reasons for the snowballing workplace injury and death rates, regulators and industry advocates will be paying closer attention to the statistics and rates surrounding these incidents.
- A Broadening Perspective on Work Injuries and Fatalities: While paying attention to the rates of workplace injuries and deaths is important, it is not the only set of statistics that regulators and industry professionals will be paying attention to in 2013. There is an increasing awareness that focusing on other rates – such as rates of near accidents and the number of safety training injured workers received – will be just as important as studying the rates of work injuries and accidents.