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Improving this workplace system may lead to better safety outcomes

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Iowa City, IA — Organizations seeking better safety results should adopt a more precise accounting system, a group of international researchers suggests.

The researchers looked at establishment-level injury data from OSHA for around 1,300 firms. They also relied on other measures to gauge the level of information quality in accounting statements, including the accuracy of earnings forecasts and error-driven restatements.

Findings show that better information quality was linked to “significantly lower” rates of workplace injuries. In the organizations in which decision-making more often comes from their branches than headquarters, the association was stronger.

“High information quality can increase the awareness of managers and stakeholders to workplace safety and thus motivate them to improve safety,” study co-author Danye Wang, an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Iowa, said in a story on the CPA Practice Advisor website. “It can show where the problems are so they can be fixed, and investments in safety-related issues bring positive returns.”

The study was published in the American Accounting Association’s Journal of Management Accounting Research.

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