Okla. Labor Department Begins Campaign to Promote Safety Program

September 20, 2005

The Oklahoma Labor Department announced its nationally recognized Safety Pays OSHA Consultation Program is the focus of a statewide radio outreach promotion that began Sept. 19.

The 30-second spots are intended to boost business awareness and participation in the program that has enjoyed tremendous success in helping Oklahoma companies dramatically reduce workers’ compensation costs.

In a Jan. 31 press release, Governor Brad Henry echoed the frustration expressed by Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau that more businesses were not taking advantage of the taxpayer-financed service. He commented, “The best way to save businesses money and protect workers is to prevent on-the-job injuries in the first place. If we can make workplaces safer, comp costs will decline dramatically while productivity increases.”

In early February, Henry included increased funding for promotion of the Safety Pays workplace safety program in his executive budget.

Increased funding to promote the consultation service and expand its access was included in this year’s comprehensive workers’ compensation reform bill, SB1X. The boost in support for OSHA consultation efforts came after months of praise for Reneau and the state Labor Department’s safety specialists. Promotion of the consultation program is a requirement for receipt of federal funds.

The two-week radio promotion will include both Henry and Reneau alternately in spots on 40 stations across the state. A Spanish-language version will run on stations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa targeting Spanish-speaking business owners and workers.

The initial phase of the promotion is designed to get the word out about the acclaimed program’s benefits to businesses and workers who do not yet participate. A second phase is planned for early next year to promote the one thousand dollar state tax credit, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2006, for businesses that utilize the consultation program.

Since Commissioner Brenda Reneau launched the Safety Pays program in 1996, the state’s injury/illness rate has dropped significantly. For the first time in state history, the private sector’s work-related injury/illness rate has dropped to the national average. And, the public sector (government) injury/illness rate is the lowest ever recorded, the Labor Department said.

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