Update to OSHA’s Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs

OSHA MRESThis month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the first update to its Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs. The update responds to changes in the workplace and evolving health and safety issues since the guidelines were originally published in 1989.

"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.” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.[1] “We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable."

The updated recommended practices encourage a proactive approach to finding and correcting workplace hazards before injuries occur. In addition to increased safety for employees, implementing OSHA’s recommended practices can help businesses:


  • Improve compliance with laws and regulations
  • Prevent on-the-job injuries and illnesses
  • Reduce expenses
  • Engage employees
  • Enhance social responsibility
  • Increase productivity and business operations


The core elements of the recommended practices include:


  • Management Leadership – top management and managers at all levels make safety and health a core organizational values and demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Worker Participation – all employees, contractors and temporary workers are involved in all aspects of the program, from goal setting to reporting workplace hazards.
  • Hazard Identification and Assessment – procedures are implemented to continually identify workplace hazards and appraise risks.
  • Hazard Prevention and Control – Management and employees work together to establish methods for controlling, eliminating and preventing workplace hazards.
  • Education and Training – All workers are educated about the program and trained in how to carry out their individual responsibilities.
  • Program Evaluation and Improvement – Control measures are periodically evaluated for effectiveness and necessary actions are taken to make improvements.
  • Communication and Coordination for Host Employers, Contractors and Staffing Agencies - Host Employers, Contractors and Staffing Agencies commit to providing all employees the same level of safety and health protection and to communicating the hazards at the worksite.


To review the full guidelines, visit: https://www.osha.gov/shpguidelines/docs/OSHA_SHP_Recommended_Practices.pdf

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