occupational safety

Ed Schipul / https://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/

Workplace injuries fell 5 percent in 2015 in Indiana. The year is now tied with 2013 as the year with the lowest on-the-job injury rate since the federal government began recording 25 years ago.

According to the Indiana Department of Labor, 3.8 people per every hundred were injured or contracted work-related illnesses last year.

Alejandro Groenewold (modified) / https://www.flickr.com/photos/rust_art/

One of every five of the 38 compliance officer positions at the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or IOSHA, are currently vacant, and its staffing issues could be contributing to the agency’s struggles with meeting its enforcement goals.

A federal audit insinuates staffing problems are behind what it calls the agency’s “consistently poor performance” in many crucial areas.

Indiana is one of 22 states with its own OSHA plan, and thus is subject to an annual audit from federal OSHA, called the Federal Annual Monitoring and Evalution, or FAME, report.

Samuel King, Jr. / https://www.flickr.com/photos/49840571@N02/

Firefighters from around the state are participating in cancer-prevention training this week in Indianapolis. 

Firefighters are regularly exposed to cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons. And cancer is their leading cause of death. Indianapolis firefighter and cancer survivor Mike Estridge says the health threat was underestimated for years.  

“We knew that there was a problem but we didn’t know how bad the problem was,” he says.

Sharan / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mauigal/

Every year, states with their own occupational safety and health agencies are reviewed by the federal OSHA. 

The latest audit of Indiana’s agency, IOSHA (which is charged with ensuring the safety of all places of employment in the state, minus federal workers and certain maritime and agricultural operations), has shown that in 2014, the agency took 14 times longer than the national average to respond to complaints and only completed a little more than half the number necessary to meet its workplace inspection goal.