OSHA’s Spring 2011 Regulatory Agenda reiterates OSHA’s earlier commitment to initiate the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act process for its Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) rule in June of this year.  Now midway through July, it is unclear when OSHA will release to the public its initial regulatory approach to the IIPP rule.  The Agency’s oft-stated most significant regulatory priority has been under development in the Agency for over two years and, yet, most stakeholders have no idea what a federal IIPP rule will look like.  Will it look like California’s IIPP rule?  Or will it take some other approach to safety and health management systems in the workplace?

Most safety and health management systems have some form of the following elements,  implemented to proactively address hazards in the workplace:

  • Management Leadership
  • Employee Participation
  • Risk Identification and Prioritization
  • Hazard Control
  • Education and Training
  • Evaluation and Continuous Improvement

Of course, the real challenge for OSHA is to take these broad concepts and turn them into mandatory requirements, which can be broadly applied to employers in all industries and of all sizes.  OSHA must also attempt to craft a rule that does not disrupt existing employer programs that may be working.  However — and whenever — OSHA deals with these issues, it is important for stakeholders to watch OSHA’s rulemaking closely and actively engage OSHA on what will work and not work with respect to a proposed IIPP rule.