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Will OSHA Stress Best Practices?

Reading the tea leaves about what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will do under President Trump isn’t easy because the agency seems to be heading in different directions.

OSHA officials recently asserted that the agency will continue to target “recalcitrant employers” using enterprise-wide enforcement and all other weapons at their disposal (AA, 4-15-17, P 4).

However, recent OSHA actions indicate they may be returning to an emphasis on helping employers maintain safe working environments by providing education and encouraging safety best practices.

OSHA announced the launch of its “Safe and Sound Campaign” webpage, calling on employers to review their safety and health programs to protect workers, and reduce workplace injuries and deaths.

The agency also highlighted its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs webpage, which it says offers employers “practical advice on how any organization can integrate safety and health programs.”

“From our view, it is interesting for OSHA to take a more cooperative approach to worker safety and health issues,” say attorneys Brent Clark and Craig Simonsen of the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw.

“Whether this signals a change in the overall approach OSHA will take under President Trump’s new Administration is yet to be seen, but this is not the tone we have seen from OSHA in the last several years,” they add.

OSHA asserts that all effective safety and health employer programs share three core elements:

  • Top management commits to the program, and provides any necessary resources.
  • Effective programs involve workers in identifying solutions.
  • All effective programs are centered around a proactive process of finding and fixing hazards before they can cause injury or illness.

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