Search form

OSHA Issues New Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs

  • November 9, 2016

In its first comprehensive changes in 30 years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has updated its Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs to reflect “changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues.”

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels released “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs” at the National Safety Council Congress public education campaign, “A safe workplace is sound business,” on October 18. The agency said the recommendations are advisory and do not represent new legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.

The OSHA official said:

Since OSHA’s original guidelines were published more than 25 years ago, employers and employees have gained a lot of experience in how to use safety and health programs to systematically prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace. We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable.

OSHA said the changes to its 1989 Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines are designed to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths, as well as “suffering and financial hardship” on workers, their families and employers, rather than being “reactive,” following an injury, illness or death, or an outside inspection.

The initiative includes a “Safety and Health Program Audit Tool” covering the seven key sections of the new OSHA guidelines:

  1. Management leadership;
  2. Worker participation;
  3. Hazard identification and assessment;
  4. Hazard prevention and control;
  5. Education and training;
  6. Program evaluation and improvement; and
  7. Communication and coordination for host employers, contractors, and staffing agencies.

OSHA said the recommendations reflect changes in the workplace over the past three decades, such as a shift from a manufacturing to service base and from a “fixed” to an increasingly mobile workforce. In addition, OSHA said the automation of work activities has meant the growing role of technology, computers, and robotics has meant “new and different hazards.”

Further, increased diversity in the workplace has meant more cross-cultural interactions, including the use of different languages, according to OSHA. An aging workforce and the rise of sedentary work and lifestyle have meant some workers are at higher risk for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Workers in industries typically considered safe, including healthcare, lodging, retail, and transportation, face “significant” hazards, OSHA said.

Increased temporary and contract employment, as well as the increase of the “gig economy,” the federal safety agency said, means that traditional relationships between workers and employers are changing, and safety programs and policies must make certain the safety of all workers in “newer and more fluid relationships.”

Jackson Lewis is available to assist with understanding the new OSHA guidelines.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm with more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries. Having built its reputation on providing premier workplace law representation to management, the firm has grown to include leading practices in the areas of government relations, healthcare and sports law. For more information, visit www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

January 23, 2019

U.S. House Committee to Focus on Workforce Protections

January 23, 2019

Signaling a renewed emphasis on workforce protections at the opening of the 116th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives has changed the name of its committee with jurisdiction over labor matters back to the Committee on Education and Labor. It was called the Committee on Education and the Workforce when Republicans held the... Read More

January 7, 2019

2019: The Year Ahead for Employers

January 7, 2019

Over the past year, state and local governments responded in a variety of ways to national policy, and the midterm elections painted a picture of what’s in store for employers in 2019 and beyond. Jackson Lewis’ annual report outlines upcoming issues, trends, legislation and regulations employers need to be aware of in the coming year... Read More

January 2, 2019

Retail Industry Workplace Law Update – Winter 2019

January 2, 2019

Class Action Trends Report The latest issue of our quarterly report on developments in class action litigation focuses on “joint employers” and covers the following topics: Are you my employer? A patchwork of tests Only in California Prevention pointer Read the Report … OSHA: Certain Safety Incentive Programs, Post... Read More

Related Practices