Have companies improved their health and safety approaches over the last decade? A longitudinal study
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BACKGROUND: Workplace level health and safety (H&S) policies, practices, and attitudes were compared longitudinally in 120 manufacturing firms. METHODS: A mailed questionnaire for worker and management representatives in the sampled worksites was first completed in 1990 [Shannon et al. (1996) Am J Ind Med 29:258-268]. Workplaces that were still in business in 2001 were re-surveyed to assess change over time in key variables previously found to be related to lost-time injury (LTI) rates. RESULTS: Several variables differed between 1990 and 2001, e.g., increase in safety training, lower turnover rate, and more management involvement in H&S. Other variables previously associated with higher LTI rates also were more prevalent in 2001: more work stoppages for H&S issues, greater perception of risk from hazards, and an increase in workers' lobbying management for H&S improvements. CONCLUSIONS: There appears to be greater awareness of H&S issues today, and a movement to upper management becoming more involved in H&S and delegating less authority to individual workers.
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