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OSHA developing risk-based injury-, illness-prevention program

Posted On: Jun. 5, 2012 12:00 AM CST

OSHA developing risk-based injury-, illness-prevention program

DENVER—An injury- and illness-prevention program standard in development by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be risk-based, OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels told the American Society of Safety Engineers.

That means such a standard would call for employers to identify hazards unique to their workplaces and develop a process for fixing them, Mr. Michaels told the society's annual Professional Development Conference & Exposition in Denver on Monday.

“It's about a process, so we wont use that standard to say 'you didn't abate this,' but it's really about can you figure out how to deal with this,'” Mr. Michaels said. “How do you categorize your hazards? Did you follow up on injuries to determine what the causes were?”

While developing the potential standard is important to OSHA, it takes about 8 years, on average, to implement a standard, Mr. Michaels said.

Many large employers already follow such a risk-based strategy for preventing injuries.

But this year, the Des Plaines, Ill.-based ASSE issued a statement saying that such a standard “must encourage a movement in this nation towards risk-based management of workplace hazards.”

Referred to as an “I2P2 standard,” such a program would eliminate workplace hazards and strengthen safety programs, leading to fewer fatalities, injuries and illness, according to ASSE.