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Using past data to protect workers

OSHA generally considers events that result in worker injuries or illnesses to be "incidents" as opposed to accidents. This is because many injuries or illnesses to North Carolina workers or others are predictable even if they aren't expected. Employers who keep good records of how workers were injured or got sick in the past may be able to use that information to keep them safe in the future.

Incidents that result in a worker getting hurt or sick are recorded on an OSHA 300 form. When an incident occurs, the employer will enter information such as where the accident happened, who was harmed and how that person was harmed. It will also indicate what equipment was being used, what task was being performed and how frequently a worker gets sick or injured. This information is kept on file for at least five years.

Data from the log can be used to determine what types of hazards workers may face in a given work environment. For instance, a slip-and-fall injury may indicate the need for mats or better shoes for factory workers. It may also be the basis for other safety protocol within a given organization. For instance, a company may decide to implement a program to detect hazards that involves both management and employees working together to create a safer workplace.

A workplace accident may result in an employee filing for workers' compensation benefits. Benefits may be granted to those who are unable to work or have incurred medical bills related to the accident. Medical costs may include seeing a doctor, having surgery or taking medication to ease pain or control other symptoms of an injury. An attorney may help an injured worker fill out an application for benefits or file an appeal if necessary.

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