Occupational Safety and Health Program Guidelines

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The development of a Safety and Health Program should consist of elements of applied safety and health practices that are successful in protecting the safety and health of employees.  Employees should be required to participate in all phases of the program, with the employer responsible for ensuring a safe and healthy work place.  An effective program seeks to identify, evaluate, and prevent workplace hazards, specific job hazards, and potential hazards that may arise from foreseeable conditions.

Although compliance with OSHA standards and the law is an important objective, a good program looks beyond specific requirements of OSHA to address all hazards.  A good safety and health program intends to prevent all injuries and illnesses, whether or not compliance is at issue.

Major Elements:

Employers should enact the following four elements for an effective occupational safety and health program.

(1)  Management Commitment and Employee Involvement

Management commitment provides the motivating force and the resources for organizing activities within an organization.  Employee empowerment enables workers to develop and express their own ideas for commitment to safety and health protection, without fear of retribution.

(2) Worksite Analysis

Worksite analysis involves a variety of worksite examinations to identify not only existing hazards, but also conditions and operations in which changes might occur to create hazards.

(3) Hazard Prevention and Control

Hazard prevention and control is triggered by a determination that a potential hazard exists.  When eliminating the hazard is not possible, hazards should be controlled to prevent unsafe and unhealthy exposure.  Elimination or control is done in a timely manner, once a hazard is recognized.

(4) Safety and Health Training

Safety and health training addresses the safety and health responsibilities of all personnel concerned with the site, whether salaried or hourly.  It is most effective when incorporated into other training about performance requirements and job practices.

OSHA advises employers to institute and maintain an occupational safety and health program.  OSHA encourages employees to become involved in their establishment’s occupational safety and health program.  An effective program should produce polices, procedures, and practices that recognize and protect employees from occupational safety and health hazards.