OSHA publishes Injury and Illness Prevention Programs White Paper

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OSHA has published a new Injury and Illness Prevention Programs White Paper on the agency’s Web site. An injury and illness prevention program is a proactive process to help employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt. These programs are effective at reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Many workplaces have already adopted such approaches, for example as part of OSHA’s cooperative programs. Not only do these employers experience dramatic decreases in workplace injuries, but they often report a transformed workplace culture that can lead to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover, reduced costs, and greater employee satisfaction.

Thirty-four states and many nations around the world already require or encourage employers to implement such programs. The key elements common to all of these programs are management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement.

OSHA believes that adoption of injury and illness prevention programs based on simple, sound, proven principles will help millions of U.S. businesses improve their compliance with existing laws and regulations, decrease the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses, reduce costs (including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums) and enhance their overall business operations. Read more on OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Programs Web page.

OSHA has also initiated a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) Panel Process on a draft Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule on January 6, 2012. The SBREFA Panel process is an opportunity, prior to publishing a proposed rule, for affected small entities (including small businesses, small local governments and small not-for-profit entities) to provide input on the impacts of a draft proposed rule–as well as alternatives that OSHA is considering–on small business and to suggest ways such impacts might be decreased, consistent with agency statutory goals.

OSHA convened a SBREFA Panel, which consists of members from OSHA, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (5 U.S.C. 609 (b)(3)). Visit the OSHA Web site for more information on the SBREFA process.