Oct 26, 2016

OSHA Updates Safety and Health Programs Recommended Practices

​(paint.org) On Oct.18, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released updated guidelines for safety and health programs recommended practices. The recommendations — which are advisory only and do not create any new legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations — update OSHA's 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues.

The recommendations feature a new, easier-to-use format and should be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. They also include a section on multi-employer workplaces and a greater emphasis on continuous improvement, as well as supporting tools and resources.

The OSHA recommendations feature seven core elements for a 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's best practices are not prescriptive; they are built around a core set of business processes that can be implemented to suit a particular workplace in any industry. OSHA says it has witnessed their successful implementation in manufacturing, construction, health care, technology, retail, services, higher education, and government.

The OSHA guidelines follow key principles such as worker participation in finding solutions, and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards.

"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 programs to systematically prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable."

The recommended practices for safety and health programs may be downloaded here.