Published October 22 2010
Survey tracks views on North Dakota WSIBISMARCK – People familiar with Workforce Safety and Insurance tend to give the state agency more positive reviews than those unfamiliar with it, a recent survey shows.
University of Mary students recently polled 100 employers, 130 injured workers and 161 members of the general public to get their opinions about WSI.
Here is a sampling of the employer results:
- WSI works to help employers receive the best value for their premium payments: 57 percent agreed, 43 percent were unsure or disagreed.
- WSI protects employers from lawsuits stemming from work-related injuries: 53 percent agreed, 47 percent were unsure or disagreed.
- WSI has a strong safety management system accessible by employers and their employees: 56 percent agreed, 44 percent were unsure or disagreed.
A sampling of the injured worker results:
- Prompt and proper care for work-related injuries is a strength: 72 percent agreed, 28 percent were unsure or disagreed.
- WSI works to provide the best possible outcome for injured workers: 66 percent agreed, 34 percent were unsure or disagreed.
- Injured workers receive fair compensation while they are off the job: 47 percent agreed, 53 percent were unsure or disagreed.
A sampling of general public results:
- WSI works to promote safe work environments for all workers: 51 percent agreed, 49 percent were unsure or disagreed.
- WSI provides education and training on safety to employers and their employees: 47 percent agreed, 53 percent were unsure or disagreed.
- WSI is heading in the right direction of workers, employers, providers, injured workers and work environments: 35 percent agreed, 65 percent were unsure or disagreed.
The survey summary included these findings:
“In many cases, businesses were ignorant of WSI(’s) existence. If the employers were aware of WSI, the majority answered favorable to the survey questions.”
“Injured workers seem to be the most knowledgeable about WSI.”
“The majority of (general public) responders answered almost blindly, indicating that they do not fully comprehend WSI.”
WSI board member Karel Sovak of Bismarck said he was surprised by results in all three categories. He was pleased injured workers gave positive reviews. However, he said it was “troublesome” that 65 percent of the public doesn’t know if the agency is headed in the right direction or disagrees it is.
WSI board member John Dyste of Forman said people who have had personal contact with the agency seem to have better feelings about it.
University of Mary junior Stephanie Nalewaja said only a small percentage of the general public understood what WSI was, and many said they got their information about WSI from newspapers. The survey summary recommends WSI focus on raising public awareness.
The full WSI board will discuss the survey results next week.
Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.