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Obama orders federal workplace safety improvements

By Ed O'Keefe

President Obama on Monday laid the groundwork for a four-year effort to improve federal workplace safety standards, ordering agencies to reduce the number of workers who fall ill or injured on the job.

Federal workers filed more than 79,000 new claims and received more than $1.6 billion in workers' compensation payments in fiscal 2009, according to Obama's memo. The figures do not include the U.S. Postal Service.

"Many of these work-related injuries and illnesses are preventable, and executive departments and agencies can and should do even more to improve workplace safety and health, reduce the financial burden of injury on taxpayers, and relieve unnecessary suffering by workers and their families," Obama said.

Obama's memo establishes a four-year initiative called Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment, or POWER. The plans calls for agencies to establish aggressive workplace safety performance goals and encourages them to collect data on the causes and consequences of frequent work injuries or illnesses.

By the end of fiscal 2014, agencies must improve their performance in seven areas, Obama said:

1.) Reducing total injury and illness case rates
2.) Reducing lost time injury and illness case rates
3.) Analyzing lost time injury and illness data
4.) Increasing the timely filing of workers' compensation claims
5.) Increasing the timely filing of wage-loss claims
6.) Reducing lost production day rates
7.) Speeding employees' return to work in cases of serious injury or illness.

Each agency will have to foot the bill for any changes, essentially making Obama's orders an unfunded mandate.

Obama's memo has good timing: The House subcommittee on the federal workforce is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday afternoon to further explore how agencies are preventing and dealing with workplace injuries.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 20, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

How are regulations going to stop bureaucrats from slipping in their own defecation?

Posted by: jiji1 | July 20, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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