OSHA has published a white paper with background information about injury and illness prevention programs (I2P2s). The agency is considering rulemaking that would require affected employers to create and implement such plans. OSHA describes an I2P2 “as a proactive process to help employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt.”
They are already required or encouraged in 34 states and many nations, according to the agency. Key elements are familiar; they include management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement.
OSHA anticipates these programs will reduce injuries by between 15 percent and 35 percent. The white paper notes: “Not only do these employers experience dramatic decreases in workplace injuries, but they often report a transformed workplace culture that can lead to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover, reduced costs, and greater employee satisfaction.”
According to the document, on-the-job injuries and illnesses can lead to loss of employment and wages, significant debt, inability to maintain a previous standard of living, loss of home ownership, and even bankruptcy. “When implemented effectively, injury and illness prevention programs can help workers and their families avoid these disruptive and sometimes calamitous impacts on their lives.”
OSHA says the programs will also help employers avoid the costs and business disruption associated with occupational injuries. I2P2s are affordable because they can be implemented at various levels. The agency emphasizes that one size does not fit all.