WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama announced Monday that he has established a four-year plan to help prevent workplace injuries for federal employees, called the Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment (POWER) Initiative.
The president has asked federal agencies to set more aggressive performance targets, encourage data collection and analysis on causes and consequences of frequent or severe injury and illness, and prioritize already effective safety and health programs.
Obama expects improvements in seven areas: reducing total injury and illness cases; reducing lost time; analyzing lost time data; increasing the timely filing of workers’ compensation claims and wage-loss claims; reducing lost production; and speeding employees’ return to work in cases of serious injury or illness.
The Labor Department will measure government-wide and agency level performance once a year and report to the president, and each agency with bear its own costs of the program.
Federal Government workers (excluding postal workers) filed more than 79,000 new claims and received over $1.6 billion in workers’ compensation payments in fiscal year 2009, according to the president. He calls on executive agencies to do even more to “improve workplace safety and health, reduce the financial burden of injury on taxpayers, and relieve unnecessary suffering by workers and their families.”