Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) doesn’t kill jobs; it helps prevent jobs from killing workers.
Supported by decades of empirical evidence, this message has been confirmed by a peer-reviewed study published in Science, one of the world’s top scientific journals, but we will also discuss it here.
Training and Programs
One of OSHA’s
main initiatives is to educate United States employers about moving beyond
reactive compliance to embracing a proactive culture of safety. Many workplaces
already have injury and illness prevention programs.
programs are common-sense tools that give employers a process to find
and fix hazards in the workplace before
someone gets hurt.
These programs are not new: 34 states and many nations
already have requirements or voluntary guidelines for workplace injury and
illness prevention programs. Numerous employers in the United States already manage safety using injury
and illness prevention programs. Every participant in Voluntary Protection
Programs (VPP) and Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Programs (SHARP)
use them with great results. OSHA emphasizes that all employers can and should
do the same.
successful injury and illness prevention programs are based on a common set of
key elements. These elements include:
- Worker participation,
- Hazard identification,
- Hazard prevention and control,
- Education and training, and
- Program evaluation and improvement.
Successful injury and illness
prevention programs include these six core elements, which focus on finding
hazards in the workplace and developing a plan to prevent and control those
hazards. Management leadership and active worker participation are essential to
ensuring that hazards are identified and addressed. Employees need to be trained
about how the program works, and, finally, the employer needs to evaluate the
program periodically to determine whether improvements need to be made.
commonly identified during OSHA workplace accident investigations include: falls,
struck-by, caught-in-between, and electrocution. Employers should develop
injury and illness prevention programs that encourage worker participation in
identifying these and other hazards in their workplaces. Employers should also
offer workers recognition for their efforts to prevent the possible injuries that
could result from those hazards.
of having these programs include but are not limited to:
- Transforming the workplace safety and
- Reducing worker injuries, illnesses, and
- Lower workers’ compensation and other
- Improving morale and communication,
- Enhancing image and reputation, and
- Improving processes, products, and
The basic idea behind these programs is to
continuously improve the workplace safety and health culture. It involves
developing a process to figure out where the hazards are and fix them.
This OSHA initiative involves outreach and
education on the benefits of these programs, as well as employers developing,
initiating, and evaluating the effectiveness of their own workplace safety and
health rulemaking. OSHA is asking that employers follow the examples of those
employers who have already implemented these beneficial programs and join “the
rest of the best” to help prevent workplace accidents and injuries.
About the Author
Elias Vela is
the OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist at the Dallas Area Office and has
more than 16 years of experience working within OSHA. Vela has conducted safety
and health inspections in the construction, oil and gas production, and general
industries. For more information, contact: OSHA, www.osha.gov