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May 30, 2013
President urged to support mandatory injury/illness plan

Moved by April’s deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion, American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) President Rick Pollock has asked President Obama to take action on a mandatory injury and illness prevention program (I2P2) regulation.

The approach, which has been in place in California since 1991, “would most closely align with the best practices of our profession,” says Pollock.

In a letter to the president, Pollock noted that the explosion occurred in the same time period as the marathon bombing. It was a time, he said, “when the nation’s attention was focused on the senseless loss of life in Boston.” Pollock urged that attention be paid to tragedies like chemical plant explosions and ways to prevent them.

Adoption of an I2P2 standard by OSHA represents a game-changing step forward, according to the ASSE. That’s because it promotes dialogue among employers, employees, and regulators. It would differ from current regulations because it focuses less on compliance details and more on significant workplace risk.

An injury and illness prevention program has been on the regulatory agenda for several years. Stakeholder meetings were held in 2010, and a review of the impact of a regulation on small businesses was to have begun in January 2013. “Despite its promise, this rulemaking is stalled in your administration,” Pollock wrote.

The ASSE acknowledges that no single strategy can reduce injuries and illnesses. Change requires a combination of initiatives, including enforcement, education, awareness, and employer commitment.

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