Broaden the way you assess safety

Reduced injury rates are unifying goal

Robin Alegria, RN, COHN-S, an occupational health nurse at Baxter Healthcare in Thousand Oaks, CA, says that occupational health can and should play a role in more accurately measuring workplace safety.

This can be done, she says, by keeping a separate record in addition to worker's compensation and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) log, to evaluate your company's safety record.

"Today, reduced injury rates are a major benchmark goal when a company is evaluated for risk levels," says Alegria. "The OSHA log rates are used worldwide as benchmarks for rating a company's safety."

In addition, a company's safety rate is used by executive decision makers, stock holders and potential buyers. "If you survey many of the occupational professionals in today's industries that deal with injury cases day by day, they will tell you that the OSHA log does not accurately reflect a company's safety record," says Alegria.

One example is the degree of causation of the injury that can be identified as the company's responsibility, or fault. "The company's safety record should not be based on every incident that results in an injury," says Alegria.

While the OSHA log is important, Alegria says that "corporations as a whole need to look at more than just that number. Workers' compensation insurance companies look at more that the number and frequency on a log."