Does Safety Training Reduce Work Injury in the United States?

Geetha M. Waehrer§, Ted R. Miller*, §
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 11720 Beltsville Drive, Suite 900, Calverton, MD 20705- 3111, USA.

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M. Waehrer et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 11720 Beltsville Drive, Suite 900, Calverton, MD 20705- 3111, USA; Tel: (301) 755-2714; Fax: (301) 755-2799; E-mail:§Dr. Waehrer is a Research Scientist and Dr. Miller a Program Director at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.


Using a cross-sectional model, this paper analyzes the relationships between occupational injury rates and worker safety training, workplace safety practices, and health-oriented employee benefits in the United States. We merged U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics establishment-level data on employee training, benefits, and rates of occupational injuries and illnesses with days away from work, obtaining a data set on 2,358 establishments, 62% of them with at least 250 employees. Weighted two-stage regression models were used to provide a rare look at the effect of training, benefit packages, and workplace practices on occupational injury rates. The results suggest that safety training increases the reporting of injuries and illnesses but also has real safety effects on days-away-from-work incidents, especially in smaller firms. While overexertion incidents were resistant to safety training, toxic exposure events were reduced in manufacturing establishments with a formal safety training program. Wellness programs and Employee Assistance Programs were associated with lower days-away-from-work injury and illness rates and costs in large firms where they are more common. Workplace innovations like total quality management significantly increased the reporting of days-away-fromwork injuries and illnesses.

Keywords: Safety training, occupational injury, evaluation, EAP, wellness program.