OSHA updates Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs

New section added on multi-employer workplaces

Posted October 24, 2016

OSHA released a set of Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs to help employers establish a methodical approach to improving safety and health in their workplaces. The recommendations 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. Also new is a section on multi-employer workplaces and a greater emphasis on continuous improvement. Supporting tools and resources are included.

The programs 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.

Key principles include: leadership from the top to send a message that safety and health is critical to the business operations; worker participation in finding solutions; and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards.

OSHA recommendations include the following 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.

Dr. Michaels released the new document on October 18 at the National Safety Council Congress in Anaheim, California.

The recommendations are advisory only and do not create any new legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.

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