The Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, held a public Web chat in late April to discuss the priorities for OSHA at this time. According to Dr. Michaels, one of OSHA’s primary focuses involves changes to the requirements for hazard identification. This month, stakeholders for an Injury and Illness Prevention Standard (i2p2) will meet to work on developing a standard and promoting a culture change needed to address workplace safety and health issues. The i2p2 standard will not replace current OSHA standards, which focus more on how hazards need to be controlled. According to Dr. Michaels, “It will be the employer’s responsibility to identify all hazards in their workplace…” The new standard will ideally provide a mechanism for identifying hazards, including ergonomics, falls, amputations, electrocutions, and work-related respiratory diseases.
LJB has focused on fall hazard identification for two decades. Our experience with fall hazard surveys and risk assessments has provided many employers with a cost-effective and risk-based approach to hazard prioritization. While input from the employer is always important, specific tools are needed to make sure the data collected is beneficial. Prioritization and reporting on the amount of risk abated is critical since fall protection is one of the most infrastructure intensive safety programs. And, without identifying what hazards you have, it is nearly impossible to control the hazards to create a safe, compliant environment for workers. To track important data about identified hazards, LJB has recently developed a fall hazard information management system that allows employers to track hazard information via the Web.
We applaud OSHA for focusing on this critical early step in creating a safe environment for workers.