OSHA is accepting comments through February 15 on the updated Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines, published in 1989 to help employers implement workplace plans, but now revised to reflect modern technology and practices. The new document builds on the previous version; lessons from successful approaches and best practices under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program and Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program; plus, similar industry and international initiatives such as ANSI/AIHA Z10 and OHSAS 18001.
Agency officials especially cite the new guidelines’ a) proactive approach to finding and fixing hazards before they cause injury, illness or death; b) increased potential for helping small and medium-sized businesses effectively protect workers; c) engagement of workers, so all have a voice in workplace safety and health; and, d) fostering of better communication and coordination on multi-employer worksites. The guidelines remain voluntary and do not create any new legal obligations or alter existing obligations under OSHA standards or regulations.
“Employers who embrace these guidelines will experience lower injury and illness rates, and their progress in improving the safety culture at their worksites will contribute to higher productivity, reduced costs and greater worker satisfaction,” contends Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
Draft guidelines can be viewed and comments submitted at the OSHA Safety and Health Program Management webpage. Comments can also be posted directly to www.regulations.gov using Docket #OSHA-2015-0018.