August 26, 2005

Christine Baker

Commission Approves New Studies

OAKLAND -- The Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) has approved two new studies, Do Quality Programs Help or Harm Job Safety? and Quality Care in Workers' Compensation: The Carpal Tunnel Demonstration Project, at its August 25, 2005 meeting.

The Small Business Resources Program is part of the Worker Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program (WOSHTEP) administered by CHSWC in partnership with the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at the University of California, Berkeley and the Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. This program helps restaurant owners and managers provide a one-hour safety training for employees. The training engages workers in a safety program by helping them to identify ways to prevent injuries in their own workplace. Because the training can be tailored to the participants' specific restaurant, employees learn how to identify health and safety hazards in their own workplace and find solutions to those hazards. The training also helps ensure that small businesses are aware of Cal/OSHA compliance requirements.

In their study Do Quality Programs Help or Harm Job Safety?, Professors David Levine and Michael Toffel, of the University of California Berkeley, address how International Standards Organization (ISO) 9000 certifications of quality systems and ISO 14000 certification of environmental management systems affect injury rates, injury severity, and workers' compensation costs in California. This will be the first rigorous study of how these common (ISO 9000) and increasingly common (ISO 14000) programs affect an important set of outcomes for California employees and employers.

CHSWC also approved the development of the proposal on the study The Quality of Care in Workers' Compensation: The Carpal Tunnel Demonstration Project, by Teryl Nuckols-Scott, MD, MSHS, Assistant Professor, and Steven Asch, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles. The studies will involve background research, communication with California stakeholders, and, ultimately, the design and preparation for a demonstration project that would address quality of medical care issues in the California workers' compensation system.

CHSWC is charged with overseeing the health and safety and workers' compensation systems in California and recommending administrative or legislative modifications to improve their operation. The Commission was established to conduct a continuing examination of the workers' compensation system and of the state's activities to prevent industrial injuries and occupational diseases and to examine those programs in other states.

Information about the study on how International Standards Organization (ISO) Certifications of Quality Systems and ISO 14000 Certification of Environmental Management Systems Affect Injury Rates, Injury Severity, and Workers' Compensation Costs in California and the study on Quality of Care in California Workers' Compensation: The Carpal Tunnel Demonstration Project.

For more information, please send your request by email at or in writing to Christine Baker, CHSWC Executive Officer, 1515 Clay Street, Room 901, Oakland, California 94612, or by calling (510) 622-3959.