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What is an injury and illness prevention program?

Workplaces that use injury and illness prevention programs help keep employees safe. These programs are processes during which employers locate and eliminate hazards before others have the chance to suffer injuries. While many workplaces have these programs, not all do. Those who do report seeing better production in the workplace, higher quality results and reduced costs. Employees are also happier in safe environments.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) believes that these programs have the ability to change workplaces and to change the way people identify and respond to hazards. Why should a business use one of these programs? Statistics don't lie: 12 workers die every day on the job, according to the 2012 white paper released by OSHA. On top of those deaths, over 4.1 million workers suffer from job-related injuries or illnesses recognized as being serious.

Prevention is the only way to stop accidents from happening in the workplace. Staying vigilant in identifying and eliminating hazards, training employees and preparing for potential exposures helps protect employees. An illness and injury prevention program helps employers reach the goal of having fewer injuries in the workplace.

When an employee is hurt or injured on the job, the expense is high. The employer loses a trained employee, costing time and productivity. The worker loses wages. Family members may lose wages, too, as they take time off to care for an injured loved one. Workers' compensation is there to help people who end up injured on the job, but the best thing for any employer to do is to help prevent injuries in the first place.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Injury and Illness Prevention Programs," accessed March 30, 2017

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