OSHA releases white paper affirming commitment to worker safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reaffirmed its position on protecting workers from injury and illness by presenting a white paper that that calls its programs "effective, flexible and commonsense" tools.

The white paper discusses the agency's injury and illness prevention programs (I2P2), and cites many examples and studies on how I2P2 has helped reduce injury, illness, and workplace fatalities and increased productivity.

An I2P2 is a process that helps employers proactively identify and fix hazards before employees are hurt. Currently, 34 states require or encourage such programs.

"The key elements common to all of these programs are management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement," notes the introduction to the Injury and Illness Prevention Programs White Paper.

Companies that have already implemented the programs at their work sites have experienced "dramatic decreases" in workplace injuries, and have also reported a new workspace culture that may lead to higher quality work, lower turnover, lower costs, and more overall employee satisfaction.

According to OSHA, such programs require the use of safety products that protect workers from the hazards presented. Such items may include hard hats, work gloves, safety glasses, or other forms of personal protective equipment. 

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