Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health
Public employers, including state agencies, cities, counties and public schools, are mandated by law to provide safe, healthful workplaces. The PEOSH Division helps ensure these employers fulfill that responsibility. Compliance with safety and health regulations and effective safety and health programs reduces fatalities, occupational injuries and illnesses, and reduces worker compensation costs.
Oklahoma is among seven states that chose to take responsibility for enforcing its public sector workforce safety and health standards, leaving the private sector workforce under federal OSHA. As such, federal mandates of a state plan were not levied against the state, allowing Oklahoma to manage public sector safety and health programs as the state wishes. Without the PEOSH program, federal OSHA would enforce public sector workforce standards, and federal fines would result in a net loss of state revenues and resources.
PEOSH also conducts safety and health investigations addressing the following:
- Workers killed in the workplace;
- Five or more employees sickened or hospitalized through a common event;
- Employers’ incident/illness rates above the state’s IR average;
- Employee complaints;
- Consultations and outreach activities (provide a resource for public sector employers across Oklahoma, ensuring they have the tools to comply with safety and health standards and rules); and
- State-driven rulemaking.
The net benefit of the PEOSH program has been to increase overall state productivity by reducing employee injuries and illness through outreach, consultation services, training, and enforcement. Not only state workers, but local fire fighters, law enforcement, schools, and all other public servants in the state have seen a benefit to their working conditions. Better working conditions translate to lower attrition rates, which leads to lower expenses to train or retrain workers.
PEOSH Statistical Research Unit
Statistical research conducts the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the Public Sector Occupational Safety and Health Survey. State and federal OSHA programs use data to improve program efficiency and increase safety and health for Oklahoma workers. Survey reports comparing similar and related information between public entities ensures less duplication of efforts among agencies, and greater benefits. Safety inspections are targeted from collected public sector data in order to best use the state’s limited resources and to gain the greatest, state-wide benefits.
The PEOSH Statistical Research Unit’s clients include all public sector employers across the state and serves as the data collection arm of the PEOSH Division.
The Survey of Occupational Injuries & Illnesses (SOII) is conducted annually, through a cooperative relationship between the BLS and participating states. The SOII program is one of the most complete, verifiable counts of non-fatal, work-related injuries and illnesses in the United States. The selected establishments are categorized by location, industry, and the number of employees to ensure an accurate sample size for the nation and all participating states. This data collection is critical to the success of ODOL’s mission to ensure that Oklahoma is a safe and healthy place to live and work. The data is useful in revealing several aspects relative to that mission, such as identifying the circumstances and patterns of work-related injuries. It is also helpful in the creation of safety training and educational materials which are useful in developing industry-standard safety practices. It also allows employers and states to compare their own injury and illness rates against national averages. Finally, the data is a vital component to facilitate and improve the academic research surrounding workplace safety and health. Learn more at https://www.bls.gov/iif/soii-overview.htm.