I recently participated in a workers' compensation (WC) leaders research colloquium at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The meeting brought together a small group of external workers' compensation thought leaders and NIOSH researchers to help the agency develop a strategic plan for the new Center for Workers’ Compensation Studies (CWCS).
The Institute started CWCS in the spring of 2013. The Center’s mission is to use WC data and systems to improve workplace safety and health. NIOSH has performed and supported research in this area for a number of years — hosting workshops in 2009 and 2012 on using data — and is currently engaged in collaborative research with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. However, it’s the first time NIOSH has used a focused approach to direct activities in this area.
The Center has already made a positive impact. Researchers from NIOSH and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation recently published results of an analysis of the Bureau’s Safety Intervention Grant Program. Under this program, Ohio provides matching grants to companies to enable them to make changes in their workplace. The results suggest that primary engineering controls can significantly reduce WC claim costs and frequency and that some controls may be more effective than others. You can access the study here. Steve Wurzelbacher, Ph.D., CWCS, presented the preliminary results of the study at the 2014 E&S (Engineering and Safety Service) Loss Control Executive Forum.
We encourage NIOSH to continue to support research demonstrating the value of loss prevention.
Steve Wurzelbacher, Ph.D., CWCS director, has been invited to provide an update on the Center’s activities at the 2015 E&S Loss Control Executive Forum in Tampa, Florida, April 22¬24, 2015.