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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

US Department of Labor: Spring Regulatory Agenda 2010

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Topic: Injury and Illness Prevention Program

This is a new item added to the Spring 2010 Regulatory Agenda. OSHA is developing a rulemaking that would require employers to implement Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. This rulemaking will provide employers the tools necessary to find and fix their own workplace safety and health hazards. Moreover, this rulemaking is projected to enhance worker’s voice and participation in the process, as well as establish guidelines as well as require employers to implement their own process that proactively addresses workplace safety and health hazards and ultimately reduces workplace injuries and illnesses.

Background

  • OSHA has substantial data on reductions in injuries and illness from companies who have implemented similar effective programs.
  • Several states have implemented similar prevention program style rules, and many employers are following prevention program consensus standards in the U.S. and internationally.
  • OSHA published voluntary guidelines on implementing Safety and Health Programsin 1989.
  • The proposed rule would build on this guidance material as well as the successful practices and approaches from OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), as well as United States and international standards. Stakeholder meetings are scheduled to begin in June 2010.

Overview of Injury and Illness Prevention Program

  • The Injury and Illness Prevention Program rulemaking will provide employers the tools necessary to find and fix workplace safety and health hazards.
  • The Injury and Illness Prevention Program rulemaking is projected to enhance worker’s input and participation in the process.
  • Several other requirements may also be established. Key provisions of the program may include:
    • A requirement that employers systematically identify and remediate risks to workers --- for example, to review relevant safety and health information, develop procedures for inspecting their workplaces for safety and health hazards and investigate accidents.
    • Methods to provide workers with opportunities to participate in the program,.
    • Provisions requiring that the program be made available to workers so they can understand it and help monitor its implementation.
    • A requirement that employers implement the program so the program actually protects workers.
    • Provisions to prevent employers from not covering workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors.

Benefits of Injury and Illness Prevention Program

  • There are more than 5,000 workplace fatalities and about 3.5 million workplace injuries every year as well as many workplace illnesses caused by exposure to common chemical, physical, and biological agents.
  • OSHA believes that an injury and illness prevention program is a universal intervention that can be used in a wide spectrum of workplaces to dramatically reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries.
  • Such programs have been shown to be effective in many workplaces in the United States and internationally.

Public Notice and Comment on the Program

OSHA will initiate its Injury and Illness Prevention Program rulemaking with stakeholder meetings beginning in June 2010.

Stakeholders Affected by the Program

The agency has not made a determination on this important question and plans, at the stakeholder meetings in June 2010 to discuss the issue and gather information that will help OSHA make future decisions. OSHA believes that all workplaces could benefit from an effective injury and illness prevention program.

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This fact sheet has been developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC 20210. Voice phone: 202.693.3200; TTY: 1.877.889.5627.