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 Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

November 12, 2018

Voters in Three States Approve Marijuana Laws on Election Day

November 12, 2018

Three states approved new marijuana laws on Election Day 2018. Voters approved medical marijuana laws in Missouri and Utah, while Michigan voters approved a recreational marijuana law. Michigan: Recreational Marijuana Michigan Proposal 1 was passed by a majority (approximately 55% “Yes” and 45% “No”). Proposal 1, the Michigan... Read More

October 18, 2018

Workplace Violence: How to Evaluate the Risks and Reduce the Potential Hazards

October 18, 2018

Every year, nearly two million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. Sadly, the actual number of cases is likely much higher — many cases go unreported. According to the Department of Justice, on a daily basis, employers and employees nationwide deal with workplace assault, domestic violence, verbal abuse... Read More

October 16, 2018

New OSHA Guidance: Certain Safety Incentive Programs, Post-Accident Drug Tests Permissible

October 16, 2018

Most safety incentive programs and post-incident drug testing policies will not be considered retaliatory and unlawful under a new Standard Interpretation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s “Clarification of OSHA’s Position on Workplace Safety Incentive Programs and Post-Incident Drug Testing Under... Read More

Related Practices