OSHA has recently updated the Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs it first released 30 years ago, to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces and evolving safety and health issues. The Recommended Practices present a step-by-step approach to implementing a safety and health program, built around seven core elements that make up a successful program, and are designed to be used in a wide variety of small and medium-sized business settings.
The main goal of safety and health programs is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, as well as the suffering and financial hardship these events can cause for workers, their families and employers. OSHA’s Recommended Practices use a proactive approach to managing workplace safety and health and recognize that finding and fixing hazards before they cause injury or illness is a far more effective approach than reacting to accidents after the fact.
OSHA recommends beginning with a basic program and simple goals and growing from there. If you focus on achieving goals, monitoring performance and evaluating outcomes, your workplace can progress along the path to higher levels of safety and health achievement.
Employers will find that implementing its Recommended Practices can bring many benefits, including:
- Preventing workplace injuries and illnesses
- Improving compliance with laws and regulations
- Reducing costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums
- Engaging workers
- Enhancing their social responsibility goals
- Increasing productivity improving overall business operations