The Associations between Occupational Health and Safety Management System Programming Level and Prior Injury and Illness Rates in the U.S. Dairy Industry

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U.S. dairy workers suffer occupational injuries and illnesses at rates higher than the national average. Occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) have been proposed as a way to reduce injuries and illnesses for businesses of all types and sizes. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) On-Site Consultation Service provides assistance establishing an OHSMS to U.S. businesses. As part of this service, the consultants determine the level of OHSMS programming using the Safety and Health Program Assessment Worksheet (Revised OSHA Form 33). A total of 167 dairy industry records were obtained from OSHA. Forty-five of those records had both injury rate and OHSMS data. Using these records, a Spearman Rank-Order correlation was used to determine the strength and significance of the associations between prior injury rates and OSHA measured OHSMS programming level for dairy operations. Additional analyses were conducted to examine potential relationships between workforce size, injury rates, and OHSMS programming levels. There was a negative correlation between OHSMS programming level and injury rates, both for the overall OHSMS and by OHSMS component. Management Leadership was the OHSMS component most strongly associated with lower injury and illness rates. OHSMS interventions, as part of a comprehensive risk management approach for the U.S. dairy industry, may be warranted to help reduce the unacceptable number of injury and illnesses in the U.S. dairy industry. Further research is needed to determine if similar relationships between OHSMS programming and injury rates occur in other industries.


Originally published in Safety Science

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