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Reporting North Carolina workplace injuries may lower fatalities

North Carolina employers and employees may benefit from reporting minor workplace accidents. A study conducted by the Rand Center for Health and Safety in the Workplace suggests reporting may reduce overall workplace fatalities. The study also found states reporting more workplace accidents had lower workplace fatalities than those states reporting fewer minor accidents.

The study also determined inspections by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration reduced the rate of workplace injuries for two years after the inspection. Usually when an inspector uncovers a safety violation, it leads to a fine, which could be the reason safety improves. However, other studies have found it is the actual inspection that serves as a deterrent rather than the fine, regardless of how huge it may be.

Researchers at Rand also believe there are less workplace injuries in states where reporting regulations are strict, incentivizing a safer work environment.

According Rand Center's director, offering members of the safety committee safety training is one way to improve workplace safety. Looking at injury rates from a state that encouraged companies to create joint management and safety committees by reducing the cost of workers' compensation insurance, the study concluded that the rates did not fall.

However, accident rates decreased when the committee members were given industrial safety training. The study found that most organizations had not offered proper training, which is why there was little change in numbers.

The director also mentioned OSHA does not regulate processes, rather focuses only on hazards. They should be regulating an employee's safety equipment, he said.

North Carolina employees and employers should report workplace accidents to increase workplace safety by preventing future errors. An injured worker is entitled to file a workers' compensation claim within 30 days of their accident. It is often possible to report an injury even beyond that time period with the help of an experienced attorney.

Source: Post-Gazette.com "Study: Small reports foster overall safety," Ann Belser, May 16, 2012

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