Objectives The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) relies on survey data to target high risk employers for safety inspections and enforcement. However, OSHA has limited resources and randomly targeting employers for safety inspections as a general strategy is inefficient. In this study, we explore the use of an alternative data source to assist OSHA with a more targeted inspection program.
Method We summarised Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) court filings for amputations from 2007 through 2012 and identified the industries and companies that are the top offenders for amputations in Illinois within this dataset.
Results In total, there were 1260 amputations, of which 27.1% were severe amputations (not restricted to digits). The industrial sectors with the highest proportion of severe amputations were the mining (50.0%), government (40.6%), and personnel/employment services (temp employment) (40.0%) sectors. The analysis identified a short list of companies and their corresponding worksites, comprising nearly 20% of the amputation claims filed through the court system.
Conclusions Using alternative datasets that provide a specific list of the worst offenders in a region can guide a more efficient use of OSHA resources and create a system that targets the companies with a poor safety record. Random inspections using industry level data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics does not differentiate between companies that invest in safety within high risk industries from the poor actors. Workers’ compensation data is only one resource among many that can be utilised to assist OSHA with targeted inspections of high risk companies.
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