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Committee looks for ways to reduce workplace illness and injury

In 1987, government agencies worked together to issue a report on work\-related illnesses and injuries. In a follow-up session, several of those same entities recently published a report on ways that the serious issue of workplace illness and injuries could be more effectively tracked and addressed in an effort to reduce the overall costs to both workers and the health care system. There are countless Missouri workers who could benefit from safer workplaces.

According to the report, there are four main areas that have been identified as needing improvement in order to better track and compile information as it relates to work-related injuries and occupational diseases. The first of those areas is in the manner in which information from employers is gathered. It was further recommended that efforts are made to better coordinate data obtained by individual states since there is a wide variation in the methods used. Secondly, the report outlined improvements in how information is collected by OSHA as well as recommendations that the agency issue more frequent reports in an effort to more effectively utilize the information.

Thirdly, committee members suggested that new ways to collect and utilize medical information be explored. It was stated that the agencies lack enough expertise to properly analyze and distribute vital medical information, and recommendations were made to put in place new ways to study and research this information. Ultimately, the goal is to have a central database to more accurately compile data from the different agencies.

Lastly, it is hoped that the improvements in the other areas will result in allowing information that can potentially prevent workplace illness and injuries to be broadly distributed. Over the past 30 years, there have been drastic changes in both workplaces and the job industry itself. Having better tools to gather information from a variety of sources may help prevent future injuries. Missouri workers who do suffer a job-related illness or injury may experience difficulties in obtaining vital benefits from the workers' compensation program. An experienced attorney can help assure that an individual receives all of the benefits to which one may be entitled in an efficient and timely manner.

Source: claimsjournal.com, "Federal Agencies Tasked With Updating National Workplace Injury, Illness Data", Denise Johnson, Jan. 19, 2018

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