OSHA Announces First Update to Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines in 30 Years

Anaheim, CA – OSHA has updated its Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines for the first time in 30 years, agency administrator David Michaels announced during the 2016 NSC Congress & Expo.
The “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs” are intended to aid employers – particularly those in small- and medium-sized organizations – in building “a methodical approach to improving safety and health in their workplaces.”

The core elements of the recommended practices are:
•    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

“We really need to take safety into the 21st century,” Michaels said during the presentation. “We think this is a big step forward.”

The guidelines account for changes since the document was first published, including the economy moving away from a manufacturing focus, greater technology, more diversity among workers, more sedentary work resulting in a higher risk of musculoskeletal disorders, and hazards in seemingly “safe” industries such as health care and retail, Michaels said.

The guidelines are derived from “best-in-class” OSHA programs, such as the Voluntary Protection Programs and the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, as well as national and international consensus standards.

The resource applies to various industries, but the construction industry will have its own “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs for the Construction Industry,” which Michaels said will be coming out in the near future.

“Every employer, no matter the size, no matter the industry, should have a safety and health program,” Michaels said.

In a statement released after the announcement, the National Safety Council praised OSHA for updating the guidelines, calling them “a roadmap for ensuring workers are as safe as possible.”

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