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 are designed to be used in a wide variety of small and medium-sized business settings and present a step-by-step approach to implementing a safety and health program, built around seven core elements that make up a successful program, including:
- Management Leadership
- Worker Participation
- Hazard Identification and Assessment
- Hazard Prevention and Control
- Education and Training
- Program Evaluation and Improvement
- Communication and Coordination for Host Employers, Contractors and Staffing Agencies
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. The recommended practices use a proactive rather than reactive approach to managing workplace safety and health, recognizing that finding and fixing hazards before they cause injury or illness is far more effective.
Employers are encouraged to begin with a basic program and simple goals and grow from there. If employers focus on achieving goals, monitoring performance and evaluating outcomes, their workplace can progress along the path to higher levels of safety and health achievement.
OSHA has published recommended practices for General Industry and Construction:
- Download the Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs
- Download the Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction
Look for more articles spotlighting specific elements of OSHA’s updated Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs in future issues of the OSHA Training Center Update.