Workplace injuries and accidents kill about 4,500 people a year – 15 so far this year in Alabama – and cost U.S. businesses billions.
Elizabeth Maples is the deputy director for the Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Ryals School of Public Health. It is one of 17 national academic research and teaching centers chartered by the legislation that created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) in 1971. The center offers graduate-level courses on how to identify, prevent and fix workplace hazards.
“Others include Johns Hopkins University, Harvard, the University of South Florida and the University of Washington,” Maples said. “We are in good company.”
Students at the center learn about workplace hazards, physical hazards and stress factors. Maples noted that the aging workforce is a critical component that is changing traditional thinking regarding workplace hazards. Maples also said that “OSHA can’t be everywhere, all the time. Some companies and workers do very well, others not so well. But the point is to go beyond just what is required by OSHA. It is all about creating a culture of safety.”
The Birmingham News
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