Injury and Illness Prevention Programs Stakeholder Meeting
July 20, 2010
Meeting Summary Report
This report summarizes key discussion points from a stakeholder meeting that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) convened pertaining to its rulemaking on injury and illness prevention programs. The meeting was held on July 20, 2010, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Its purpose was to obtain information from a diverse range of stakeholders that could be used to help develop an Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule, which will reduce workplace injuries and illnesses by requiring employers to implement an injury and illness prevention program. These programs would use systematic approaches to proactively address safety and health hazards.
A notice of the stakeholder meeting published in the Federal Register (Volume 75, Number 119, pages 35,360–25,262) on June 22, 2010, informed potential attendees that pre-meeting registration was required. The notice also briefly summarized injury and illness prevention programs and current standards, outlined the topics for meeting discussion, and explained meeting logistics (e.g., number of attendees that can be accommodated, meeting times and location). The Washington meeting was the fourth of five Injury and Illness Prevention Program stakeholder meetings. Attendees were designated as either participants or observers. In total, 40 participants and 70 observers registered for the meeting. Participants were seated along with OSHA representatives in a roundtable format. Observers occupied rows of chairs behind the participant area.
Participants included employer and labor representatives, consultants, safety and health professionals, industrial hygienists, academics, and members of occupational safety and health public interest groups. Participants were entitled to provide verbal comments throughout the meetings; observers were restricted from commenting during the meeting until the final session had completed, at which point OSHA entertained questions and comments from observers.
Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG) provided logistical support for the stakeholder meeting, and an ERG technical writer attended the meeting and prepared this summary report. This report captures the main discussion points raised by stakeholders during the meetings, including remarks made by individual stakeholders, but is not a verbatim meeting transcript. No portion of this document reflects or should be considered to represent the viewpoints or opinions of ERG.
All participants were asked to introduce themselves by stating their names and affiliations. Following the participant introductions, the OSHA panel was introduced. OSHA representatives in attendance included Dorothy Dougherty, Mike Seymour, David Wallis, Bryan Seal, and Luis Martinez from the Directorate of Standards and Guidance, as well as Bob Burt from the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Eve Stocker from the Department of Labor's Office of the Solicitor.
Dorothy Dougherty, the Director of the Directorate of Standards and Guidance, provided the introduction to the meeting. Ms. Dougherty welcomed the attendees and emphasized that OSHA's goal for the meeting was to have an open discussion to hear stakeholder opinions about an Injury and Illness Prevention Program and to gather information to help in formulating a rule. She stressed that the discussion should not be considered a hearing or a formal meeting. OSHA realizes that all stakeholders have busy schedules and is thankful that each attendee took time to participate in the meeting. The Directorate of Standards and Guidance is in charge of developing occupational safety and health standards. Information and data provided by stakeholders is essential to creating meaningful, effective standards. Ms. Dougherty encouraged stakeholders to remain involved as the rule is developed. The rulemaking process can be lengthy, and public participation is welcomed at every step. Prevention programs such as OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), consensus standards such as ANSI/AIHA Z10 and OHSAS 18001, and state-run programs are effective models for improving worker safety and health. OSHA believes that introducing an Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard would help to decrease the number of worker fatalities and reduce the occurrence and severity of injury and illness.
Ms. Dougherty indicated that this rulemaking is a major priority for the current administration and that the reports from two previous Injury and Illness Prevention Program stakeholder meetings in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and Dallas, Texas, were available on OSHA's website. A summary report from the most recent Injury and Illness Prevention Program stakeholder meeting in Washington, D.C., would be available on OSHA's website in the near future. OSHA was pleased with the number and variety of attendees and looked forward to a productive meeting and future collaboration on rulemaking. OSHA planned to host one final stakeholder meeting on an Injury and Illness Prevention Program in Sacramento, California, on August 3, 2010.
Mike Seymour of the Directorate of Standards and Guidance joined Ms. Dougherty in welcoming everyone to the meeting. Mr. Seymour remarked that he knew many of the participants by name or reputation, and he was confident that the discussion would be highly informative. Mr. Seymour said that an Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard could change both the physical workplace and its culture. The standard would apply to small and large businesses alike, and be flexible enough to apply to different types of industries and hazards. OSHA can only meet this challenge, however, with support of the stakeholders around the table—and continued dialogue in the future. At this meeting, the agency sought to learn what has worked and what has not worked with safety and health management systems. Mr. Seymour acknowledged that, in the past, some stakeholders had requested changes to the agenda of the meeting. He said that, although OSHA appreciated the concern and input of these stakeholders, the agenda had not been changed because it was a logical and consistent way to gather the information OSHA needs. Finally, Mr. Seymour concluded that the Directorate of Standards and Guidance feels that this standard is particularly important, and that accomplishing the goal will only be possible with continued assistance from the public.
Administration of the Meeting
Meeting facilitator Elizabeth Vasquez (of Management Consulting Associates) provided the stakeholders with an overview of the meeting format. Ms. Vasquez explained that the meeting should be considered an informal forum to present comments. Ms. Vasquez encouraged the stakeholders to provide their points of view, explaining that although the meeting was being recorded and a summary report would be developed, no attribution would be made to individual commenters or to representatives from specific industries. Ms. Vasquez informed the observers that OSHA would invite questions and comments from them at the end of the meeting, if time allowed. Ms. Vasquez also provided the stakeholders with an overview of the agenda. OSHA staff presented the specific questions the stakeholders were asked to address.
1 Key Points from Group Discussion
OSHA representatives sought specific information regarding (1) the possible regulatory approach to the Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard, (2) the scope and application of the rule, (3) the organization of the rule, and (4) the economic impacts of the rule. The following is a summary of the key stakeholder comments made during the meeting. Comments are grouped together by topic without referencing the identity of the commenter.
1.1 Possible Regulatory Approaches
Mr. Seymour introduced the topic of possible regulatory approaches for an Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule. OSHA has had an interest in an Injury and Illness Prevention Program for some time. The agency has established various initiatives over the years to encourage employers to implement safety and health programs. Support for such programs led the agency to issue the Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines (54 FR 3908) in 1989. Current system standards, such as the ANSI/AIHA Z10 and the British Standards Institute OHSAS 18001, as well as the program standards implemented in various states, have also provided useful and effective guidelines.
Mr. Seymour posed the following questions to the stakeholders: There is a substantial history of safety and health management programs that should be considered during the development of this standard. What did OSHA do right in prior initiatives? What did OSHA do wrong? What experiences have you had with OSHA's voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines, VPP, SHARP, state standards, ANSI Z10, or OHSAS 18001? What are the advantages and disadvantages of adopting such a rule?
Stakeholders provided the following comments and recommendations on the above topics:
Management Programs vs. Technical Standards
- A number of participants said that employers want the OSHA standard to be specific about what they are required to do and how to do it. They indicated that small businesses, in particular, are ill-equipped to meet non-specific, performance-based standards.
- At the same time, a few participants either subject to or familiar with the California state standard requested that the OSHA standard be performance-based. This would allow employers with existing, effective programs to comply with OSHA's requirements.
- One participant suggested that the OSHA standard should focus on the identification, control, and elimination of hazards. This participant expressed concern that the OSHA standard might encourage or proliferate behavior-based safety approaches that merely look at employee behavior, rather than the presence and control of hazards.
- One stakeholder stated that employers are more creative and able to develop more effective programs when they have some regulatory flexibility.
- A participant mentioned that an Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule with specific requirements will not give employers an incentive to be creative or exceed the minimum requirements. They suggested that a regulation with flexibility and adaptability will, via innovation, enhance workplace safety over time. Another stakeholder cited the Process Safety Management Standard as an example of a highly prescriptive standard that slowed workplace safety innovation.
- One participant urged OSHA to consider developing advisory committees or partnership programs, instead of a mandatory Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule.
- Many participants felt that OSHA should develop a mandatory Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule to account for the many employers and industries that have poor hazard identification and control measures.
Other Standards and Programs
- Several participants recommended that the OSHA standard should include the "plan, do, check, act" model from ANSI Z10. The participants stated that this model is an effective and easily understood tool. Some cautioned that companies following ANSI Z10 have had trouble with the planning, communication, and employee participation elements of the standard. In particular, stakeholders stated that planning is the most difficult concept for employers implementing a program. They indicated that employers always want to move quickly to the "act" phase, without spending the necessary time on planning. Employers are also used to working toward a specific and finite end goal. They are not used to continuously updating and improving their programs, concepts that are central to ANSI Z10 and other standards.
- A few stakeholders lauded the management systems approach included in ANSI Z10, which encourages employers to track and evaluate the effectiveness of corrective actions. Such systems help employers identify the root cause of hazards and move the focus away from finding workers responsible for incidents.
- One participant stated that the OSHA rule should focus on the correction of hazards and should emphasize the hierarchy of controls, similar to ANSI Z10.
- One participant cautioned OSHA that an Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule might conflict with §8(a)(2) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In particular, this participant argued that if the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule required open dialog between management and employees on injury and illness prevention, then such a requirement might contradict the NLRA. One participant was aware of multiple committees that were formed in response to state Injury and Illness Prevention Program requirements, but that were ultimately dissolved because they were illegal under the provisions of the NLRA.
- Several participants recommended that OSHA should retain and include the hierarchy of controls in its Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule. Participants also suggested that the hierarchy should be communicated to employees to convey that personal protective equipment serves as a last resort.
- A few participants familiar with the California state standard mentioned that the rule successfully led to the creation of numerous effective programs. These participants suggested that OSHA should try to borrow some of the components that have made California's program successful.
- OSHA indicated that it is considering grandfathering existing programs that are demonstrated as effective, but also added that no decisions have been made yet on what would constitute a comparable or effective program.
- One stakeholder suggested that OSHA consider the success of the Bloodborne Pathogen (BBP) Standard. This stakeholder noted that the BBP Standard was successful because it is clear and concise, and uses easily understood elements, principles, and policies.
- One participant reported informal suggestions from California officials about how to improve California's state standard. The participant mentioned that the state standard could be improved by: including clear guidance on job hazard analysis, defining the term "regularly scheduled," requiring employers to define near misses, adding the concept of root cause analysis, requiring the hierarchy of controls, and requiring face-to-face training.
Underreporting of Incidents and Near Misses
- Many participants provided anecdotes about employers whose policies directly or indirectly reward employees for lowering or avoiding workplace incidents. There was a consensus among stakeholders that these policies discourage reporting of incidents and near-misses. These participants agreed that the OSHA rule should prohibit employers from implementing any program or practice that would discourage reporting of injury or illness.
- One stakeholder stated that management is currently responsible for ensuring that management, supervisors, and employees follow safety programs. The stakeholder believed that this requirement encourages management to introduce injury discipline programs as a response. The participant felt that the OSHA rule must not promote such programs or allow them to be used as a response to workplace injuries, because they can lead to underreporting.
- One participant cited a new Federal Aviation Administration rule that precludes management from disciplining aviators or controllers who report their mistakes and near misses.
Objectives of the Standard
- One participant recommended that OSHA clearly define the purpose of the standard. In this participant's opinion the purpose of the standard should be to develop the capacity for workplaces to identify and address hazards and safety and health problems before incidents occur.
- Another stakeholder stated that high-risk industries, such as the health care industry, are in need of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule. They felt that the state standard in California has been effective at addressing hazards, and expressed hope that the federal standard will be effective as well.
- To further encourage workplace safety, one participant suggested that OSHA reward employers using the best Injury and Illness Prevention Program practices.
- OSHA stated that it wants to develop an Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule that can be implemented by all employers, without disturbing current programs that are working effectively.
- One participant stated that an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule can save employers from currently ineffective hazard controls. This participant indicated that many employers rely on outside consultants to develop an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, but the OSHA rule could require employers to consult with employees who have intimate knowledge of hazards and can provide valuable input to an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- Several stakeholders mentioned that many workplaces do not have adequate control over workplace violence hazards. These stakeholders expressed hope that the OSHA rule will force employers to address workplace violence via an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- Participants stated that employee participation in an Injury and Illness Prevention Program is culture-driven, and that workplace culture does not change quickly. These participants stated that a main objective of the OSHA standard should be to emphasize the integration of safety into workplace culture.
Defining a Program's Effectiveness
- Many participants recommended that the OSHA rule not use lagging indicators as a metric for measuring the success of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, and charged OSHA with developing new indicators to measure the success of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Many participants requested that the OSHA rule incorporate leading indicators and place an emphasis on effective hazard assessment as an indicator of success.
Enforcement of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program Standard
- Several stakeholders recommended that the OSHA rule clearly define what constitutes a violation of the rule. Many stakeholders expressed interest in OSHA's plans for enforcing the rule.
- One participant stated that enforcement officers prefer to inspect employers based on specific requirements, rather than more abstract performance-based requirements. To accommodate this, the stakeholder suggested that the OSHA rule require the employer to collect consistent data on safety, behavior, and hazards, allowing inspection based on a performance-based standard.
- OSHA stated that a mandatory Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule, enforceable by OSHA inspectors, is the plan that is currently being considered.
- One participant recommended that OSHA should publicize the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule on a regular basis so that all employers are aware of its existence and its requirements.
- One participant stated that existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program plans are often too lengthy, limiting their effectiveness. This participant asked that the OSHA rule not require employers to develop overly lengthy programs, to maximize their effectiveness.
- OSHA stated that an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) would not be filed for the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule. OSHA mentioned that these stakeholder meetings have provided significantly more information and dialogue on the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule than an ANPR would have.
- One stakeholder suggested that because OSHA's goal is workplace safety, allegations of Injury and Illness Prevention Program violations should be posted, regardless of the outcome, so that employers and employees have equal Injury and Illness Prevention Program responsibility.
1.2 Scope and Application of a Rule
David Wallis of OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance introduced the topic of the potential scope and application of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule. He noted there are more than 7.5 million businesses in the United States, and that more than 5 million of these employ 20 or fewer employees. Based on current statistics, injuries are evenly distributed between the large and small employers. Mr. Wallis expressed OSHA's interest in hearing participants' opinions about how broad a reach an Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule should have. OSHA would like to formulate a rule that is broad enough to capture all workplace hazards, but also be focused enough so that the rule does not lose its effectiveness. Mr. Wallis explained that the scope of the rule could be limited using several different approaches, and that OSHA was particularly interested in hearing stakeholders' opinions about whether and how to do this.
Mr. Wallis posed the following questions to the stakeholders: What would be an appropriate approach to the scope of the standard? What industries and employers should be covered by the standard? Should the rule be limited to specific occupational hazards?
Stakeholders provided the following comments and recommendations regarding the scope of the rule and how it should be applied:
Industries and Employers the Standard Should Cover
- Many participants agreed that the OSHA rule should apply to all employers, regardless of industry or size. These participants emphasized that hazards can exist at any workplace, so the OSHA rule should be very broad in scope. One participant noted that employers can have different numbers of employees depending on the time of year. The participant indicated that these employers and all others, regardless of size, should be subject to the same rule.
- Some stakeholders stated a preference for an OSHA standard that uses a tiered approach. These stakeholders suggested that smaller employers with limited resources be exempt from some of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule requirements. One stakeholder suggested including a voluntary portion of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule that would allow some employers to be recognized or rewarded for their commitment to an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- One stakeholder requested that the OSHA rule cover agriculture, despite some past regulatory precedent. This stakeholder cited the high injury and illness rates that exist in the agricultural industry.
- A participant suggested that the OSHA rule not apply to employers that have already implemented safety and health management systems.
- A number of stakeholders recommended that the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule apply to mobile industries (e.g., in-home health care), even though the employees generally work outside the employer's main facilities.
- A few participants suggested including telecommuters in the OSHA standard. These participants mentioned that the number of telecommuters is growing and they ought to be covered by an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- A stakeholder stated that the size of an employer should affect the number of requirements imposed by the OSHA rule. Training requirements should not differ based on employer size, but recordkeeping and documentation requirements should be reduced, the participant said.
- One stakeholder expressed concern that the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule will result in OSHA regulating ergonomic hazards and other hazards that currently do not fall within OSHA's regulatory scope. OSHA responded that it does not anticipate regulating any hazards that it does not already regulate. Another stakeholder stated that the OSHA rule should cover all hazards, even those outside OSHA's current regulatory boundary. This stakeholder indicated that every employer has a responsibility to identify hazards and address them.
- Stakeholders mentioned that the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule needs to specifically address the relationship between multiple employers at a single workplace (e.g., prime and subcontractors).
- A few participants stated that OSHA could consider developing a separate Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule for the construction industry.
Other Standards and Programs
- Participants from California said that their state has developed and made available model plans that can be used by high-, medium-, and low-hazard employers. They said that OSHA could use these model programs as a reference to determine which program elements to include in its standard. OSHA inquired whether providing model programs increases the likelihood of employers copying a model program and not implementing or actively updating their own program. Stakeholders responded that enforcement inspectors will be able to determine whether employers are following an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, so those practices should not concern OSHA.
- One participant suggested that the requirements of the OSHA rule should mirror those of the California state standard. This participant noted, however, that the California state standard contained some exemptions for employers with 10 or fewer employees. The participant disagrees with the size-based exemption because hazards can still exist in small workplaces.
- Stakeholders repeatedly expressed concern that the OSHA rule should not determine the effectiveness of an employer's Injury and Illness Prevention Program based on injury and illness rates, because underreporting is widespread.
- Many stakeholders emphasized the value of reporting near-miss events as part of the OSHA rule. These stakeholders felt strongly that studying near-miss events can teach an employer about the shortcomings of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program, allowing for improvement of a program before an injury or illness occurs.
- Several stakeholders suggested that the employers should give small incentives to employees to file reports on incidents or near misses. The stakeholders believe that the OSHA rule should include requirements that encourage and promote reporting. Many stakeholders stated that any policy that discourages reporting severely weakens an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- Several stakeholders stated that the OSHA rule should require written injury and illness prevention programs for all employers, regardless of size and industry. They said that employee turnover and changes at workplaces increase the importance of a written program that can be referenced at any time.
- One participant suggested that the goal of the OSHA standard should be to create a system that regulates itself, because of OSHA's limited enforcement resources. To achieve a self-policing system, this participant stated, the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule should strongly encourage reporting from both employers and employees, to keep both constituencies in compliance with an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
1.3 Organization of a Rule
Bryan Seal, of the Directorate of Standards and Guidance, introduced the topic of how the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule should be organized. OSHA has the task of determining what an Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard would look like; Mr. Seal requested stakeholder input on how the standard should be organized so that covered employers and industries will be able to comply with the rule.
Mr. Seal posed the following questions: OSHA has identified six core elements for inclusion in the standard: (1) management duties; (2) employee participation; (3) hazard identification and assessment; (4) hazard control; (5) education and training; and (6) program evaluation and improvement. Are these core elements an effective foundation for this standard? What should the overall standard look like? What additional tools or appendices would be useful? Do you have successful tools or guidance that can assist employers in compliance with the standard?
Stakeholders provided the following comments and recommendations regarding organization of a rule:
- Participants stated that management leadership is the key for success for an Injury and Illness Prevention Program —all other components should fall in line if management is committed to an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. As such, stakeholders recommended that the OSHA rule should strongly emphasize the duties required of management.
- Numerous participants said that the OSHA standard needs to include elements that ensure employee awareness of, and participation in, an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Some recommended the standard further allow employees to hold management accountable for Injury and Illness Prevention Program violations.
- Several stakeholders stated that the OSHA rule should place equal emphasis on the employee involvement and management commitment components. They also recommended that employees should be involved in the planning and decision-making process, because employees have a better understanding of the impact an Injury and Illness Prevention Program will have on workplace hazards.
- One participant suggested encouraging employee participation using eye-catching posters and other messaging tools. This participant also recommended using diagrams and pictures to overcome language and literacy obstacles.
- Stakeholders expressed concern that employees might initially be suspicious of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program based on the fear that their input could be used against them. These participants suggested that requesting full involvement from employees, including the writing of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program processes, could convey a more trusting and proactive safety culture, ultimately increasing buy-in from employees.
- A few participants stated that the OSHA rule should emphasize participation from temporary or contingent employees and day laborers, who are often neglected in an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. These employees must have a mechanism for reporting and controlling workplace hazards.
Hazard Identification and Assessment
- Many stakeholders indicated that an Injury and Illness Prevention Program is most effective when management, supervisors, and employees collaborate to develop the program. These stakeholders asked that the OSHA rule require collaboration between these constituents.
- Several stakeholders recommended that the OSHA rule require employers to conduct risk-based hazard assessment surveys. Because not all hazards are equal, the stakeholders stated, OSHA must develop a feasible approach to allow employers to reasonably allocate scarce resources and to address the most significant hazards.
- Stakeholders stated that the OSHA rule should require written documentation of job hazard analyses and employer responses to identified hazards.
- Stakeholders urged OSHA to include management of change as a part of hazard identification.
Education and Training
- Several stakeholders recommended that training be interactive and led by an instructor who can respond to questions or concerns. These stakeholders indicated that requiring employees to watch a training video is significantly less effective at conveying an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- Several participants recommended that the OSHA rule include training for temporary and contingent workers, even if these training requirements are different from the requirements for full-time employees.
- One participant urged that the rule include training requirements for management personnel. Management personnel are also affected by workplace hazards, the participant said.
- A stakeholder recommended that hazard identification and control be the first topic addressed in safety training. Employees who understand the hierarchy of risk assessment can safely identify hazards and address them accordingly.
- Participants stated that employee training should include information on how to report complaints, and should detail the method by which complaints are to be addressed.
- Several stakeholders said that the OSHA rule should consider literacy levels and language barriers during training.
- One participant said that Injury and Illness Prevention Program training should follow normal craft training, because employees cannot fully understand hazards unless they understand their job and responsibilities.
- A few stakeholders mentioned that training should be performance-based, not based on watching a video or attending a class. These stakeholders stated that it is important for employees to understand the training material, rather than merely prove they attended.
Program Evaluation and Improvement
- Stakeholders stated that the OSHA rule should require written documentation of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program evaluation.
- Participants suggested that employers should regularly post an evaluation metric of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program, to convey to employees the value of setting an Injury and Illness Prevention Program goal and improving safety.
Additional Elements to Include
- Stakeholders asked OSHA to include helpful program development tools and guidance documents in the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule. These stakeholders emphasized that small employers, which lack the resources to hire safety professionals, will need tools to develop an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- Participants recommended that OSHA consider literacy levels and language barriers in all components of the rule. These participants stated that the success of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program is largely tied to employees understanding all the applicable elements. A participant suggested that unions can help employers overcome language barriers during the development of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Another participant suggested the use of hand-held translators or online translation tools.
- Stakeholders urged OSHA to promote accountability as an element that is equally important to management responsibility.
- One participant stated that the OSHA rule should emphasize the accurate reporting of injuries and illnesses.
- Several stakeholders suggested that the OSHA rule should include voluntary appendices. Voluntary appendices are more easily understood and can serve as a starting point for less-savvy employers, the stakeholders said.
Other Standards and Programs
- One participant mentioned that the most successful Injury and Illness Prevention Program's in California exist at workplaces with employers who display a strong concern for safety. The participant stated that the safest employees are the ones who know they will not be disciplined for expressing safety concerns. This stakeholder said that many of the employees who have been hurt or died either did not express their concerns about a known hazard or spoke out and were hushed by management.
- One participant mentioned the Department of Energy's 10 CFR Part 851. This rule includes a model implementation guide and provides suggestions for encouraging employee involvement.
- A stakeholder stated that Appendix A of the Army Corps of Engineers' 385-1-1 Safety and Health Requirements Manual has guidance on how to prepare an accident prevention plan.
- One participant mentioned that employers subject to the California state standard have kept inadequate documentation. This participant stated that for a performance-based Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule, clear and thorough documentation is highly important, especially for reference during inspections.
- A participant stated that the OSHA rule should emphasize the rule's interaction with preexisting standards (e.g., state Injury and Illness Prevention Program standards, industry-specific standards).
- One stakeholder asked OSHA to include, as an appendix, its publication on job hazard analysis.
- As part of the HAZWOPER standard, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences developed a non-mandatory appendix with minimum criteria for training requirements, a participant said.
1.4 Economic Impact
Bob Burt from the Office of Regulatory Affairs introduced the topic of economic impacts from the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule. Mr. Burt explained that OSHA is required to demonstrate that its regulations are economically feasible. Additionally, to facilitate OMB's review, OSHA weighs the economic impacts of regulations using the techniques of cost-benefit analyses. Accordingly, OSHA sought stakeholder information about what the potential costs and benefits of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule would be.
Mr. Burt posed the following questions to the stakeholders: What are the costs of starting and maintaining an Injury and Illness Prevention Program? What would be the incremental cost to businesses that already have implemented an Injury and Illness Prevention Program? What approaches could be used to minimize costs? What kind of impact would this standard have on small businesses? How can the benefits or the effectiveness of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program be measured? Mr. Burt also asked stakeholders to refer OSHA to any specific sources of cost or benefit data that they were aware of.
Stakeholders provided the following comments and recommendations regarding economic impacts:
- A participant stated that nonprofit organizations have implemented an Injury and Illness Prevention Program in instances where it is not yet required by rule. The participant said that although these organizations must spend resources to develop an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, the reduction in injuries and illnesses has often saved these organizations money. An Injury and Illness Prevention Program has always dropped incident rates, thus lowering compensation costs.
- A stakeholder with experience in an Injury and Illness Prevention Program said it can take a company 12 months to implement a program if they have a dedicated employee overseeing the effort. If a company does not have a dedicated employee, implementation can take 18 to 24 months, the stakeholder said.
- One participant suggested that OSHA speak to insurance companies, which might be willing to provide information on potential savings afforded by an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. This participant stated that OSHA should be cautious when obtaining cost data from existing programs, because OSHA's rule might have different Injury and Illness Prevention Program requirements.
- A participant suggested that OSHA should consult with small businesses subject to the California state standard. The participant said that these small businesses would be able to speak to the initial costs and maintenance costs that resulted from the state standard.
- One stakeholder stated that OSHA needs to convince small businesses that an Injury and Illness Prevention Program can be cost effective. One stakeholder stated that small businesses with no injuries will incur costs, but will see no tangible benefit.
Cost-Effectiveness and Costs vs. Benefits
- One participant recommended that OSHA should strive for a lower-cost standard, even if that reduces the benefits. This participant noted that OSHA cannot address all safety and health issues in a single rule, so it should focus its resources on higher-priority areas.
- A stakeholder cited an example of an employer that operates in two different countries, one of which requires an Injury and Illness Prevention Program while the other does not. The stakeholder said that in the county that requires an Injury and Illness Prevention Program the company has experienced 37 percent fewer injuries and illnesses.
- One stakeholder suggested that OSHA consult with employers (e.g., in California) that have longer-running programs in place, because they might have more information on the long-term costs and benefits of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- In determining the benefits of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, a stakeholder said that OSHA should be wary of low incident rates, which might be a result of discouraged reporting. This participant said OSHA should also be wary of the benefits afforded by behavior-based safety programs, because these programs do not emphasize the identification of hazards.
- A participant mentioned that some occupational illnesses (e.g., workplace asthma) are not documented as such, and will not be captured in cost-benefit analyses.
2 Closing Remarks
OSHA representatives thanked the stakeholders for their participation. Ms. Dougherty emphasized that the stakeholder input would greatly help OSHA formulate the standard. She reiterated that the rulemaking is in the early stages and it is difficult to predict the timing of the release of the standard. Mr. Seymour described the procedure for formally submitting comments. Interested parties can provide documents and other information to OSHA. Any information used by OSHA in the preamble will be added to the docket once it is opened.
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