OSHA Updates Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs
OSHA first released its “Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs” 30 years ago. Since then, the workplace has changed so much that it can, in some ways, appear unrecognizable from days gone by. OSHA has therefore recently updated its guidelines to address both these changes and the accompanying safety and health issues that are now part of the modern workplace.
While OSHA’s changes to its guidelines will no doubt help increase safety at the workplace, perhaps the most significant changes were to its online resources. This updated resource center provides step-by-step employer action lists to enable effective implementation of safety programs. It also has a section for employees to facilitate active participation in the programs. Additional resources are available to both promote in-house education and training and evaluate existing safety programs for improvement. In the event that further assistance is needed, the domain provides easy access to OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program to enable small businesses to maintain safety and compliance through confidential reviews and evaluations.
It has only been approximately three months since OSHA implemented the dramatic 78% increase to its penalties. Any employers who have been cited by OSHA during this relatively brief time period, however, have likely appreciated the impact of the increased penalties. While there is always good reason for an employer to enhance and improve safety, the risk of being on the receiving end of a citation reflecting an increased penalty amount provides one further incentive. OSHA’s updated guidelines provide additional resources and a platform for an employer to further analyze, modify, and improve its safety culture and performance – to protect its employees and also, reduce the risk of increased penalties.