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Is OSHA relevant to today's pros? (5/28)

According to ISHN reader research, the majority of EHS pros do not want to see a more activist OSHA, issuing more standards than pros have time to handle.

In ISHN’s 2009 White Paper study, readers were asked: What should be the priorities of the new team at OSHA in 2009?”

  • Only 21 percent of readers want to see increased OSHA standards-setting.
  • Only 26 percent want more enforcement.
  • Only 38 percent want the permissible exposure limits (PELs) updated after 38 years.
  • Only 20 percent favor issuing a new ergonomics standard. (/li>


Almost 40 years ago, the profession saw OSHA as “Our Savior Has Arrived.” Now, many pros have their facilities “beyond compliance” and are disengaged and disinterested in OSHA activities.

  • OSHA compliance is one of the most difficult safety and health objectives for only 18 percent of readers in 2009, according to White Paper survey responses.
  • OSHA compliance is one of the easiest objectives for 50 percent of readers.


We asked the American Society of Safety Engineers incoming President Chris Patton, CSP (who assumes ASSE’s top leadership spot at the group’s annual meeting in San Antonio June 28-July1) this question:

Is OSHA relevant to today’s sophisticated professional who is thinking management systems, thinking risk, thinking sustainability, thinking globally — all things OSHA has nothing to do with. Your thoughts?

Chris Patton: “For the sophisticated professional who is thinking management systems, thinking risk, sustainability, etc., and who works for a company that provides the necessary resources and who “gets it”, compliance becomes nearly irrelevant. However, that does not mean that OSHA is not a critical part of employee safety in this country. They are here to ensure that employers perform above a certain level. Unfortunately, that is still a necessity.

”ASSE will continue our active pursuit of practical, efficient, and cost effective safety legislation and regulations. We support adequate funding of OSHA, and believe that OSHA can play many roles, not just as regulators. They can help sell safety, they can build partnerships, and they can teach and share information.”

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