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Advocates call for updated workplace safety monitoring

An analysis completed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is complete after a year of studying methodology for tracking and preventing workplace injury and disease. The agency is now calling for a reconfigured system of health surveillance to improve overall occupational safety throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S.

Health surveillance is a term used by public health professionals to describe a system of testing and monitoring designed to provide early notification of health concerns. Experts are calling for implementation of better testing and monitoring for workers at risk to toxic exposure in hazardous working conditions. Current systems are more focused on tabulating data and providing post-injury analysis rather than preventative measures. Additionally, the Academies are calling for cross-agency sharing of data between OSHA, NIOSH and the BLS. Data sharing could result in more rapid responses to occupational health data and potentially reduce redundancies in data collection.

Although the recommendations seem well intended, there are privacy concerns about collection of individual health data in any surveillance program. Furthermore, implementing the recommendations could be costly for businesses. However, advocates point to the $250 million spent annually on work injuries as the continuing cost of doing nothing.

Occupational safety is a major issue in America. If an employee gets hurt while on the job, a qualified workers' compensation attorney could provide valuable legal guidance. Advocates are often well-versed in the methods used by employers and insurers to limit financial exposure at the expense of injured workers. Obtaining legal counsel could provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing one's rights are being protected.

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