Occupational Safety & Health:

Worksite Safety and Health Programs Show Promise

HRD-92-68: Published: May 19, 1992. Publicly Released: May 19, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated whether all employers should be required to implement comprehensive safety and health programs as a means of identifying and correcting work-site safety and health problems.

GAO found that (1) according to available information, which is not conclusive, comprehensive safety and health programs can positively affect work-place safety and health; (2) doubts about requiring employers to enact such programs mainly involve implementation issues; (3) although many potential implementation problems can be overcome, there is the possibility of certain employers with various work-force sizes and various industries having problems with implementation; (4) there are only limited statistical data regarding the potential burden and impact of required safety and health programs; and (5) a preferred approach could be to place safety and health program requirements on high-risk employers, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could identify.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not taken action to require high-risk employers to have comprehensive safety and health programs. However, OSHA is undertaking a rulemaking under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to require employers to develop and implement comprehensive worksite safety and health programs.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider passing legislation that would require high-risk employers to have comprehensive safety and health programs. OSHA could define employers as high risk on the basis of: (1) high rates of injuries and illnesses at their worksites or in their industries; and (2) a past history of significant safety or health violations at their worksites or in their industries.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not taken actions to require that OSHA develop the evaluation procedures recommended, but OSHA initiated, in FY 1992, a two-part study to assess what groups of employers should be required to have these programs. Parts I and II of the study are complete and OSHA plans to issue a proposed standard on workplace safety and health programs in June 1996.

    Matter: Congress should require that OSHA develop and implement evaluation procedures to determine what groups of employers should be required to have comprehensive safety and health programs.

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has taken no action to require that OSHA conduct such an assessment. OSHA does not plan to consider this recommendation without congressional action because OSHA believes that this is an issue that should be left for Congress to decide.

    Matter: Congress should require that OSHA assess the merit of substituting a requirement for comprehensive safety and health programs in place of multiple prevention plans addressing specific hazards.

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not required OSHA to mandate worksite safety and health programs or to conduct evaluation studies of them. OSHA has initiated, however, a two-part study to assess what groups of employers should be required to have these programs. Parts I and II of the study are complete and OSHA expects to issue a proposed standard on workplace safety and health in June 1996.

    Matter: Congress should require OSHA to make comprehensive work-site safety and health programs mandatory for those employers for whom OSHA studies indicate they may be appropriate.

 

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