It’s now safe to say federal OSHA won’t enact a new rule requiring companies to have safety management systems before the end of President Obama’s term in January 2017. That’s because in the most recent Department of Labor semi-annual regulatory agenda, the plan to require Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (I2P2) has been officially placed on the “long-term action” list.
In its previous regulatory agenda last fall, OSHA said it would release a notice of proposed rulemaking on I2P2 in September 2014.
Now there’s no date listed for OSHA’s next step on I2P2s.
OSHA chief David Michaels had called I2P2s the agency’s top priority.
While no reason has been given for this latest delay, the lengthy amount of time it takes these days (several years) to enact a new OSHA regulation, especially one that’s not an update of an existing one, is surely a factor in this case.
This will come as a sigh of relief to some companies who feared what implementation of I2P2s would mean for their businesses.
Fifteen states already require companies to have some form of safety management systems: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Some other states don’t require these programs, but instead offer companies incentives to have them.
OSHA still encourages businesses to enact their own I2P2s. Here is how OSHA defines an I2P2:
“Injury and Illness Prevention Programs are proactive processes that can substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses and can alleviate the associated financial burdens on U.S. workplaces. These systematic programs allow employers and workers to collaborate on an ongoing basis to find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt or become ill.”
While some businesses feared OSHA’s I2P2 proposal, others have embraced the idea. OSHA notes that many of the safest businesses enrolled in its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) have their own employee safety and health management systems in place.