The Pennsylvania Certified Safety Committee Program

An Evaluation of Participation and Effects on Work Injury Rates

Published In: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, v. 53, no. 8, Aug. 2010, p. 780-791

by Harry H. Liu, Rachel M. Burns, Agnes Gereben Schaefer, Teague Ruder, Christopher Nelson, Amelia Haviland, Wayne B. Gray, John Mendeloff

BACKGROUND: Since 1994, Pennsylvania, like several other states, has provided a 5% discount on workers' compensation insurance premiums for firms with a certified joint labor management safety committee. This study explored the factors affecting program participation and evaluated the effect of this program on work injuries. METHODS: Using Pennsylvania unemployment insurance data (1996-2006), workers' compensation data (1998-2005), and the safety committee audit data (1999-2007), we conducted propensity score matching and regression analysis on the program's impact on injury rates. RESULTS: Larger firms, firms with higher injury rates, firms in high risk industries, and firms without labor unions were more likely to join the safety committee program and less likely to drop out of the program. The injury rates of participants did not decline more than the rates for non-participants; however, rates at participant firms with good compliance dropped more than the rates at participant firms with poor compliance. CONCLUSIONS: Firm size and prior injury rates are key predictors of program participation. Firms that complied with the requirement to train their safety committee members did experience reductions in injuries, but non-compliance with that and other requirements was so widespread that no overall impact of the program could be detected.

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