OSHA is a vital part of health and safety in the workplace. Many job sites fear OSHA inspections, but most contractors recognize the importance of maintaining strong standards for keeping workers safe and healthy on the job. It increases productivity and profit and reduces liability. Many don’t realize that it is possible for the everyday contracting business to have a say in these policies. If you’ve been looking for a chance to sound off on health and safety guidelines, the OSHA Safety and Health Program is seeking public comments!
OSHA Safety and Health Program
The OSHA Safety and Health Program is not new and doesn’t create any new regulations or obligations, nor does it alter existing OSHA standards for health and safety in the workplace. What it does is create a proactive approach to recognizing potential hazards before the danger becomes reality.
It seeks to improve health and safety, help small to medium businesses better protect their workers, give all workers a voice in maintaining health and safety procedures and improve coordination and communication between workers and management across the board.
The new guidelines in the program seek to create a flexible and strong framework to address issues of health and safety in the workplace. The program was originally established in 1989 and the current effort seeks to build on lessons learned over the past few decades as well as the best practices garnered from other OSHA programs. In particular, these are SHARP (the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) and VPP (the Voluntary Protection Program).
Current Version and Comments
The current version of the Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines is OSHA-2015-0018, and the organization seeks public comments on the guidelines themselves. The current draft is from November 2015, and as of January 1, 2016, there are 45 days left for the public to issue comments on the guidelines.
Overview of Guidelines
The guidelines themselves are a detailed 44-page document that includes appendices which provide tools and resources as well as information on how this program ties into existing OSHA safety standards and can improve overall safety in the workplace. It is important to note that this program doesn’t represent any new laws, rules or regulations. It is intended to be informational and help companies enact voluntary standards that will further increase the potential for health and safety on the job.
Topics covered in the guidelines themselves include:
- Management leadership
- Worker participation
- Identifying and assessing hazards
- Preventing and controlling hazards
- Training and education
- Evaluation and improvement of programs
- Coordinating and communicating across worksites
As always, controlling liability is one of the biggest reasons you should consider investigating these guidelines. Part of controlling liability is carrying the right insurance coverage.