The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is asking for stakeholder input on revised safety and health management guidelines that employers may adopt voluntarily. The draft guidelines (https://www.osha.gov/shpmguidelines/SHPM_guidelines.pdf) update the agency’s 1989 safety and health program management guidelines.

The 39-page guidance document lists seven “core elements” of safety and health management programs:

  • management leadership,
  • worker participation,
  • hazard identification and assessment,
  • hazard prevention and control,
  • education and training,
  • program evaluation and improvement, and
  • coordination and communication on multiemployer worksites.

Each guideline section describes a core program element, followed by several action items. Individual action items list examples of steps employers and workers can take to establish, implement, maintain, and improve their safety and health programs. The publication also includes two appendices, one providing links to program implementation tools and resources, and the second, presenting, in chart form, the relationship between the guidelines and existing OSHA standards.

In an email to agency employees and contractors on November 16, OSHA’s David Michaels said he was “proud” to introduce the latest guidelines. “I believe that this important program has the power to transform workplace safety culture and can lead to higher productivity, reduced costs and greater worker satisfaction, in addition to preventing worker injuries, illnesses and deaths,” he said. OSHA notes the guidelines would be especially useful to small and medium-sized employers, since it would aid them in finding and fixing hazards before accidents occur.

OSHA is accepting comments on the guidelines at http://www.regulations.doc, using Docket #OSHA-2015-0018, through February 14, 2016. The guidelines will be a focus of a meeting on December 9, 2015, at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. Interested parties are advised to register early, registration can be done online, at:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/worker-health-and-safety-meeting-future-of-work-symposium-registration-19473562951.