The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a set of Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs to help employers establish a methodical approach to improving safety and health in their workplaces.

The recommendations update OSHA’s 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues. The recommendations feature a new, easier-to-use format and should be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. Also new is a section on multi-employer workplaces and a greater emphasis on continuous improvement. Supporting tools and resources are included.

According to OSHA more than 4 million workers suffer serious job-related injuries or illnesses. These incidents don’t just hurt workers and their families, but can hurt businesses in a variety of ways. Companies spend $1 billion per week on workers’ compensation, which is money that could be better invested in growing small businesses and creating jobs.

Businesses today want to be sustainable, and part of that means taking care of workers so they can help sustain and grow the business. By identifying and controlling the job-related hazards that can lead to injuries and illnesses, safety and health programs improve small- and medium-sized businesses’ safety and health performance, save money, and improve competitiveness.

The safety and health program approach has been proven by “best in class” employers that have reduced injuries and illnesses and improved their businesses. While there are different approaches, all effective safety and health programs have three core elements:

  • Management leadership. Top management commits to establishing, maintaining, and continually improving the program, and provides any necessary resources.
  • Worker participation. Effective programs involve workers in identifying solutions. Improved worker engagement is linked to better productivity, higher job satisfaction, and better worker retention.
  • A systematic find and fix approach. All effective programs are centered around a proactive process of finding and fixing hazards before they can cause injury or illness.

To learn more about how to integrate this approach in your workplace, visit the OSHA website

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