Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines from OSHA

Apr 30th, 2016 | By | Category: Take A Break

EHS Journal - Construction Workers by Patrick Moore

Take a break and check out the draft Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The guidelines are intended to provide employers and workers with a sound, flexible framework for addressing safety and health issues in the workplace.

The Program Management Guidelines were originally published in 1989, and the latest version was released in November 2015 for public comment. The updated guidelines bring in best practices and lessons learned from OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), and similar initiatives such as ANSI/AIHA Z10 and OHSAS 18001.

The guidelines are not a new regulation, do not create any new legal obligations, and do not alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.

Health and safety managers can use the guidelines as a point of comparison to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their current health and safety program or as the basis for a facility-level health and safety management system.


Program Components

Core elements of the Safety and Health Program Management guidelines include:

  • Management leadership
  • Worker participation
  • Hazard identification and assessment
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Education and training
  • Program evaluation and improvement
  • Coordination and communication on multiemployer worksites



The following analysis was provided by Muddassir Katchi of

Preventative Measures

Under the new guidelines employers need to think about accidents before they happen. Prevention is the key, and a proactive approach to keeping employees safe from injury, illness, and death is a focus of the guidelines. A proactive approach keeps workers out of harm’s way and helps employers keep a step ahead of possible lawsuits or downtime due to injured or sick workers.

Businesses of All Shapes and Sizes

Along with these new changes comes the awareness that health and safety should be a priority for all workplaces regardless of size. Whether you own a small business or a medium-sized one, your workers’ safety should be front and center. OSHA is working to provide regulatory standards and guidance that cover a larger number of businesses, and this is a welcome development, especially for smaller enterprises.

Employee Involvement

The guidelines encourage workers to be more proactive in their own workplace health and safety, ensuring that they not only work safely, but also have a voice regarding safety and health on the job. This should lead not only to a decrease in accidents and incidents, but also to an increase in the return on investment realized by employers. Improving employee involvement includes having an increased flow of communication on work sites that have more than one employer, for example, on construction sites. Coordinating the efforts of multiple businesses so that safety precautions are not overlooked is paramount to the success of OSHA’s preventative measures.

Final Note

One thing to note is that these new regulations do not pose any new compliance rules. Therefore, as a business owner or human resources manager, you are not required to implement these guidelines into your workplace. Rather, the guidelines show you the direction in which OSHA is headed with future rules and regulations.


About the Author

Muddassir Katchi is the Product Line Manager for, a provider of on-line safety training. He has been responsible for the release of NERC-approved quality courses that meet compliance standards and fulfill regulatory requirements. Muddassir has vast experience working with NERC, FERC, and other state regulatory agencies. He is involved in the management of education programs, production, monitoring, and strategic planning to provide quality education to individuals and institutions.

Photograph: Construction Workers by Patrick Moore.


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