California Workplace Safety Program Can Reduce Injuries If Enforced

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A California occupational safety program requiring all businesses to eliminate workplace hazards can help prevent injuries to workers but only if it is adequately enforced, according to a new study by the RAND Corporation.

The California Injury and Illness Prevention Program, which became effective in 1991, requires all employers to adopt certain procedures, including communicating to employees about risks, training employees about how to work safely and investigating the causes of the injuries that occur. The program has been the most frequently violated Cal-OSHA standard in every year since 1991, being cited in about 25 percent of all inspections.

The researchers found overall percentage of inspections finding program violations did not change over time. When state inspectors did investigate further and found failures to comply with the program, the average injury rates at non-complying businesses declined more than 20 percent in the following two years.

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