Workers’ compensation claims in Illinois and across the nation place immense financial burdens on employees, families, and businesses. One study shows that in 2011, about $250 billion was spent each year on work-related injuries and illnesses. Now, to help reduce this spending, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is launching a new initiative to identify, define, and apply new ways to lower on-the-job risks.
To help with this initiative, NIOSH opened a new facility to conduct surveillance and research. With the help of rich data sets from workers’ compensation cases, NIOSH can get a better understanding of the nature and severity of illnesses and injuries compensated by employers. As a result, NIOSH hopes to find valuable scientific evidence that can protect employees in the future from having to file workers’ compensation claims, saving employees, businesses and communities pain, suffering and money.
The new center, named the Center for Workers’ Compensation Studies (CWCS) within NIOSH will work together with scientists, insurers, and other private and public sector organizations to reach specific goals. Some of the goals of the new NIOSH center include identifying trends in workplace injuries and illnesses, understanding the economic impact of workers’ compensation injuries, finding ways to prevent and reduce work related injuries or illnesses, and developing best practices for prevention of these injuries.
NIOSH also plans to work with public and private partners to maximize their data and find new ways to use this data to benefit the public. As Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers, we hope that this new initiative will bring enormous benefits to the workforce and over time, prevent unnecessary workplace injuries.