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Occupational Health Experts Offer Guidelines to Prevent Workplace Illness and Injury

Occupational Health Experts Offer Guidelines to Prevent Workplace Illness and Injury

June 2, 2021
"The focus on identifying measures that occur before worker’s health is harmed is critical to safeguarding worker health," said AIHA CEO Lawrence D. Sloan.

Last month the AIHA announced new guidelines for developing health metrics in workplaces to help prevent illness and injury.

"The focus on identifying measures that occur before worker’s health is harmed is critical to safeguarding worker health," said AIHA CEO Lawrence D. Sloan in a statement.

The group says that these guidelines, Best Practice Guide for Leading Health Metrics in Occupational Health and Safety Programs, are intended for both practitioners and managers in the broad occupational health community, including industrial hygiene, occupational medicine, occupational health nursing, engineering and human resources. 

Leading health metrics—as opposed to lagging health metrics—focus on disease prevention and health promotion. They are measurable, evidence-based indicators that are used to monitor, predict, influence, and manage exposures, hazards and conditions in a workplace that may impact worker health.

Health outcomes addressed by leading metrics can be acute, such as eye irritation, dermatitis or metal fume fever. Or they can be chronic, such as elevated blood pressure, hearing loss or cancer. Leading health metrics can include the number of workers exposed to hazardous noise and the number of those who participate in tobacco cessation programs.

Lagging metrics measure after-the-fact occurrences, such as injury and illness rates and prevalence of disease. Unfortunately, lagging metrics are not preventive, as worker health has already been impacted. Because of the lag time between exposure and adverse health effects, such metrics can give false reassurance when the physical manifestation from an adverse exposure is not yet present.

The free comprehensive guide includes specific examples of leading health metrics, how to create a balanced set of leading health metrics and how to implement and measure them in a workplace.

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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