New Study Looks at Apprentice Training and Safety at Work

New Study Looks at Apprentice Training and Safety at Work

The study, which used data from over 4,000 journey level plumbers, examined workers’ compensation claim rates.

Can workplace safety be improved by apprentice training? A new study published late last year shows that there may be a relationship.

The study, from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, looked at data on 4,036 journey level plumbers (JLP) from 2000 to 2018.

The workers’ compensation claim rates of those who finished apprentice training were 31 lower than those who lacked apprentice training, according to an L&I news release. The adjusted estimates claim rate for JLPs with apprentice training was 73.1 per 1,000 full-time equivalent. For those with no apprentice training, it was 106.4 per 1,000 full-time equivalent.

“This study provides support for what many believe: There are fewer injuries among apprentices,” said Dr. Dave Bonauto, SHARP manager, in the news release.

JLPs who completed apprentice training also did not lose as many days compared to those that completed some or none. More than nine in 10 claims (91.4 percent) from JLPs who finished training resulted in zero days lost, whereas only 87 percent of claims for JLPs with some training and 82.9 percent of claims for those with no training resulted in no days missed.

Moreover, a mere 1.7 percent of claims from those with apprentice training led to 31 to 100 days lost. Claims by those with some and no training were higher, 2.7 percent and 4.6 percent respectively.

“While the study focused on plumbers, it indicates apprenticeships not only provide well-trained workers, they also contribute to a safer workplace,” said SHARP epidemiologist Dr. Sara Wuellner in the news release. “Other studies could look at specific parts of apprenticeship and show how that occurs.”

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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