A new report by an independent scientific panel gave the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research program for preventing traumatic occupational injuries high ratings for its relevance to national needs and its impact of reducing traumatic occupational injuries.
“This report is the latest in a series resulting from independent scientific evaluations undertaken through the Institute of Medicine and the National Academies, which examine selected NIOSH research programs in great detail,” said NIOSH Acting Director Christine M. Branch, Ph.D. “NIOSH requested these evaluations as part of our commitment to make our programs as transparent as possible, to ensure that they are relevant to the nation’s priority occupational safety and health needs, and to affirm that they have real impact on helping to prevent work-related injury, illness and death.”
The panel was convened by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) at NIOSH’s request. The committee assigned a score of 4 out of a possible 5 for the program’s relevance to national needs for reducing traumatic occupational injuries, and also assigned a score of 4 out of 5 for the impact of the program toward reducing traumatic occupational injuries.
The review committee’s report stated that in areas identified as opportunities for improvements, the program “can continue to serve as a leader in the field by identifying its niche in research, collaborating with partners, and sponsoring important high-quality research that contributes to reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with injury in the workplace.”
“We are grateful for all the hard work that everyone contributed,” Branch said. “As we have done in previous evaluations, we will review the committee’s report, prepare a draft implementation plan and ask the NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors to review the complete package.”
According to NIOSH statistics presented to the review committee, 5,702 occupational fatalities occurred in the private sector in 2005, averaging to15 per day, as well as 4.2 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses. The Liberty Mutual 205 Workplace Safety Index estimated that employers spent $50.8 billion in 2003 on wage payments and medical care for workers hurt on the job.
Although recent decades have exhibited steady reductions in the numbers and rates of traumatic occupational injuries and fatalities, the toll remains far too high, NIOSH said.