NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2003 Oct; :23
Washington State has supported a registered apprenticeship program since 1941. This program combines classroom studies with on-the-job supervised training. In 1999, 1,044 apprentices received certifications in 92 occupations, ranging from watershed resource specialist to construction worker. These programs have been evaluated for their ability to create a skilled and diverse workforce, but not for their impact on worker safety and health. This study assessed the ability to capture information necessary for a training effectiveness evaluation using safety, health, and economic outcome measures. Data on apprentices completing the training program from 1993 to 1999 were collected by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries from three administrative databases (Apprenticeship and Training, Wage and Hour, and Workers' Compensation). NIOSH received records from the Apprenticeship and Training (A&T) graduate database. Records for those graduates who secured employment in Washington were matched to records from the A&T database. Graduates who filed workers' compensation in Washington were matched to their record from the A&T database. Graduate records were obtained for 9,313 apprentices over the period requested and 8,726 (94%) had reported income in Washington. Of the graduates, 6,281 had workers' compensation records, with a total of 14,720 injuries and illnesses. The ability to generate statistics and analyze matches from these records are critical components to determine if an additional study of the effectiveness of this program using health and economic outcome measures is feasible. Problems with this approach included attrition because graduates left the state, a lack of occupation identifiers to compare wage rates between groups, no method available to distinguish if a graduate worked in the trade related to his/her apprenticeship, and no clear method to identify a comparison group. These problems are sufficient in magnitude that an evaluation study could not be conducted. However, descriptive statistics concerning the apprentices can be presented.