Workplace safety is always a hot topic, from the smallest companies to the biggest departments within the federal government. In an effort to make the 2.7 million people who work for the U.S. government safer, OSHA has announced that it will hold a three-day workplace safety training event at the end of July.
Starting on July 29th, federal agency employees who are responsible for workplace safety and health will meet at OSHA’s Chicago Training Institute to learn about a variety of issues that tend to have the biggest impact on workplace safety.
The training will cover things like heat stress, electrical hazards, and ways to prevent falls. According to OSHA, the goal of this training event is to give federal departments the knowledge they need to create safety programs and standards that mirror what successful companies in the private sector have, but tailored to the public sector.
This isn’t the first time OSHA has stepped up to protect federal employees. Efforts have surged since the inception of the Obama administration’s “Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment” initiative (also known as “POWER”) back in 2010. The goal was to change policies so that workplace safety played a bigger role in the day-to-day functioning of the federal government. Among other things, the initiative called for stricter policies and additional data that could pinpoint safety risks.
In the four years since that initiative was put into place, federal occupational safety numbers have seen some improvements. Specifically, OSHA reports that illness and injury rates among federal employees have dropped by 18%, and lost-time rates among these same employees has decreased by 16%.
Those declines are noteworthy in their own right, but they become even more impactful when considering the savings to taxpayers. The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), essentially a workers’ compensation program for federal government workers, pays out disability and medical benefits to injured workers, along with survivor benefits to families of those who are killed on the job. The safer government employees are at work, the less the government has to spend to abide by FECA.
While this month’s OSHA event will help raise awareness around workplace safety, it isn’t the only thing the federal government is doing to create a better culture of safety. The event’s efforts are supplemented by federal safety and health councils that meet several times throughout the year to brainstorm new ideas and implement new ways to stay safe on the job.
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