The Pennsylvania Governor''s Occupational Safety and Health Conference opened yesterday, as safety professionals from across the state focused on continuing to change unsafe attitudes and behaviors on and off the job.
"Pennsylvania workers and businesses are proving labor-management cooperation works effectively in every type of business environment. But much more needs to be done," said Pennsylvania Industry Secretary Johnny Butler. "While we are at record low levels of lost-time injuries and deaths, we can make those numbers even lower. We have saved millions of dollars in workers'' compensation reforms, but we must continue to use those savings to create safer workplaces and enhance productivity."
Butler told attendees that those changes, combined with Pennsylvania''s world-class workforce and skilled leadership, will produce these results.
"As Gov. Ridge emphasizes, together we can make Pennsylvania known not just as the state with the best workers, but also the state with the safest worker environment," said Butler.
Over the past five years, Pennsylvania companies have saved more than $2.5 billion in workers'' compensation costs. Total workers'' compensation premium costs in the state have been cut by $78.8 million.
Butler noted that an increased focus on joint worker-management safety efforts has helped to reduce injury rates, while record numbers of Pennsylvanians are working.
Under Gov. Ridge''s PENNSAFE -- Pennsylvania Safety First -- workplace safety initiative, the number of joint worker-management workplace safety committees has climbed from under 1,000 in 1996 to more than 4,200 covering 587,000 employees in 2000.
by Virginia Sutcliffe