There are several approaches to addressing safety in a company. Later this year, OSHA will publish the notice of proposed rulemaking for the Injury and Illness Prevention Program Standard, commonly known as I2P2. This new standard will build off the voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines that was originally published in 1989. This standard will build on the implementation of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and OHSA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) that are already in place. There are also several state plans that already require an I2P2 program. These states include CA, CO, HI, LA, KI, MN, MS, MT, NC, NH, NV, NY, OR, UT and WA.
When thinking about the approach to take when it comes to safety you must incorporate federal, state and local compliance along with risk management to create a truly successful safety program. Risk management meaning prevention. When you focus only on compliance you will miss critical hazards that could be avoided by placing equal or greater focus on prevention along with compliance. Prevention activities strive to eliminate the chance for an injury by removing the hazard or reducing the risk.
If you are currently part of the VPP or SHARP programs, then you are better prepared for the new I2P2 Standard. Another parallel program that is helpful is the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001. If you are not part of any or all of these programs, now is the time to start looking at your Health and Safety Program and apply for these programs.
The VPP recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In VPP management, labor, and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through a system focused on hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, management commitment and worker involvement. To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. Union support is required for applicants represented by a bargaining unit. VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the programs. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status. Click here for more information from OSHA regarding VPP.
The On-site Consultation Program’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small business employers who operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of your worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles you out among your business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. Upon receiving SHARP recognition, OSHA exempts your worksite from OSHA programmed inspections during the period that your SHARP certification is valid. To learn more about SHARP click here.
The proposed I2P2 standard has several key elements that are part of an effective program. These program elements include:
• Management Leadership
• Worker Participation
• Hazard Identification and Assessment
• Hazard Prevention and Control
• Education and Training
• Program Evaluation and Improvement
Injury Prevention Programs have been shown to be effective at reducing both the frequency and severity of injuries in the workplace. As seen in the OSHA Injury and Illness Prevention Programs White Paper, the US Department of Defense, a VVP participant, saw a reduction of lost work days of 40%. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation analyzed companies performance before and after entering the SHARP program and saw injury claims reduced by 52% and average cost per claim decrease by 80%. In addition to the reduction in injuries, employers see an increase in productivity, greater employee retention, better employee morale, greater employee job satisfaction and lowering workers’ compensation costs. Not only is having an injury prevention program a good practice, it will soon be law of the land.
For OSHA’s page specific to Injury and Illness Prevention Program click here.