OSHA updates safety and health guidelines for first time in 25 years

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is modernizing its current recommended guidelines. The agency release an update for its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in an effort to urge employers to create and maintain a methodical approach to improve safety and health on the job. 

These recommendations update the 1989 guidelines to better reflect the evolution of the modern workplace, public opinion and the economy. According to OSHA, these new programs are focused on preventing injury and illness, improving compliance laws and regulations, reducing costs, engaging employees, enhancing social responsibility benchmarks and increasing productivity in the workplace.

"These recommendations update the previous 1989 guidelines."

Essentially, the basic tenets of the new guidelines are to establish programs and easily achievable goals that make growth simple and attainable. There will be greater emphasis on monitoring performance and analyzing outcomes so that each workplace across the country can benefit from higher levels of safety and health on the job.

According to the guidelines, the seven main principles of a good safety and health program are:

  1. Management leadership
  2. Worker participation
  3. Hazard identification/assessment
  4. Hazard prevention/control
  5. Education/training
  6. Program evaluation/improvement
  7. Communication/coordination for employers

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

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