A study of 10 years of Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) enforcement inspections and safety consultation visits to employers found that those visits were associated with statistically significant subsequent reductions in workers’ compensation claims and costs for employers. The study, conducted by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries' Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program, excluded work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) claims for which there are no hazard specific rules. The study found that:
- For the 10 years of the study, worker compensation savings (in the form of medical costs and wage replacement) for employers in the study was $4.2 million annually due to DOSH enforcement and consultation activities.
- Extrapolated to all Washington DOSH interventions performed, the total worker compensation annual cost savings would be $34.1 million.
However, our current scheduling system is not getting us to the right places to find serious hazards. The number of hazards we are finding is below the national average. We have to do better; because we know when we get to the right places at the right time, we have an impact.
Almost 20,000 serious hazards are found in Washington workplaces each year, and eliminated so they do not hurt or kill workers.
The percent of inspections where serious hazards are found is below the national average. We have established goals to exceed the national average and are measuring on a quarterly basis.