Right now, college students throughout Illinois are busy preparing for the start of the fall semester. However, these college students aren't the only busy ones, as staff at these colleges and universities are busy preparing their campuses for the sudden influx of students and taking steps to ensure that the academic year proceeds as smoothly -- and injury free -- as possible.
One academic institution where employees can feel especially safe from work injuries is Illinois State University. That's because the school has seen its rate of serious work injuries decline by an unbelievable 80 percent over the last decade.
Back in 2000, ISU's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Recordable incident rate was a whopping 6.4, meaning an average of 6.4 employees out of 100,000 full-time employees suffered some sort of work-related injury requiring treatment from a medical facility. However, by 2012, the OSHA incident rate dropped to 1.2.
How exactly was the school able to achieve such a remarkable turnaround?
School officials examined the data and determined that 75 percent of all the reported workplace injuries and illnesses could be traced to three departments: Campus Dining, the Office of Energy Management and Facilities Management. Accordingly, they launched a comprehensive and collaborative safety campaign designed to create safer work conditions for all employees in these departments.
Some of the measures that school officials credit with improving safety in these departments include:
- Identification of unsafe conditions on campus (missing guardrails, fall hazards, slippery floors, leaking roofs, etc.) and investment of the necessary funds to upgrade/fix them (new guardrails, anchor points for harnesses, improved walking surfaces, roof repairs, etc.)
- Employers taking a constructive approach to safety, including addressing employees concerns and providing safety instructions
- Employees working together to identify potential problems and actively encourage safety awareness
- Formation of safety committees and better overall training
- Investment in safety equipment and personal protective gear
These numbers are incredibly encouraging and should serve as a wakeup call for other colleges and universities across the state.
Consider speaking with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your options if you have suffered serious injuries in a workplace accident.
Source: Illinois State University, "University injury, illness rate reduced by 80% in 10 years," August 22, 2013