Health and Safety Policies
The U.S. federal government regulates the health and safety policies employers are required to follow in order to keep workplaces safe and free from hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that is tasked with creating these health and safety policies. OSHA is also responsible for enforcement of these health and safety policies.
Health and Safety Policies
Workplace health and safety policies are created by OSHA through a rigorous development process known as the OSHA rulemaking process. This lengthy and extensive process includes significant public engagement, notice and comment periods. During the period of time during which these policies are being created, they are published by the Department of Labor each spring and fall in the Federal Register, so that the public can follow the progress of the regulation. Once they are enacted, regulations are officially published in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Health and Safety Education
Part of OSHA’s role as a federal agency is to provide education on its health and safety policies. This is important because all employers are required to comply with all applicable OSHA standards. There are several methods by which OSHA provides education to employers. Education methods include training, outreach, and assistance. Safety training and real world response preparedness is essential as well. Safety, First Aid, CPR training should be the bear minimum. Now days there is a real threat and possibility of a mentally ill shooter as well, emergency egress training and procedures for this type of threat can and should be installed, regular drills can be scheduled so that if the time should come employees can respond out of training reflex.
First aid training can be broken down into different skills: CPR, Emergency First Aid, BLS training(basic life support), and also AED training, also known as Advanced External Defibrillator training. The National Library of Medicine provides a very thorough explanation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). BLS certification classes are a requirement in many healthcare fields as a minimum requirement. Basic Life Support (BLS) is used to care for a person who has suffered a life threatening episode such as suffocation or drowning, heart attack, or being chocked (airway obstruction). Have all essential personnel attend a first aid certification class. CPR classes and first aid should be a top priority and again… a bear minimum for training requirements.
OSHA offers cooperative programs to help employers understand and apply the health and safety policies that pertain to their industry. Cooperative programs allow businesses and other organizations, including labor groups, to work with OSHA to prevent deaths, injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Programs include the Alliance Program and the OSHA Strategic Partnership Program. Another program offered by OSHA is the Voluntary Protection Program. This program recognizes employers and workers who have implemented effective safety and health policies that allow them to maintain injury and illness rates below that of the natural average.
Employers and employees that are interested in making improvements to their workplace health and safety policies can do so through the OSHA Challenge Program. In this program, Challenge Administrators guide participants through a three-stage process to create an effective system to prevent injuries and illnesses, and even fatalities. Additional assistance in creating an effective health and safety policy is available through OSHA’s on-site consultation program.