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OSHA Updates Safety and Health Program Recommendations

October 19, 2016
OSHA offered a new version of its safety and health program recommendations. Image courtesy of U.S. EPA
OSHA offered a new version of its safety and health program recommendations. Image courtesy of U.S. EPA

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an update its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs guidelines, taking changes in the workplace, economy, and safety and health issues, the agency announced Tuesday. This is the first update of the guidelines since their original release in 1989.

“Since OSHA’s original guidelines were published more than 25 years ago, employers and employees have gained a lot of experience in how to use safety and health program to systematically prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace.,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety Dr. David Michaels in a statement. “We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable.”

The guidelines promote leadership’s role in making safety and health a priority of business operations, engaging worker participation in developing solutions, and utilizing a “systematic approach” to identifying and remedying safety hazards.

The agency’s suggestions include seven key concepts for a successful safety and health program: Management leadership; worker participation; hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and control; education and training; program evaluation and improvement; and communication and coordination for host employers, contractors, and staffing agencies.

OSHA said the safety and health program guidelines “are not prescriptive,” and do not create new legal obligations for companies.