More than 30 registered stakeholders gathered June 29 to discuss OSHA’s proposal to issue an injury and illness prevention program (I2P2) rule, the first of two such meetings to be held in the nation’s capital, according to a report posted on the website of ORC Worldwide, a global EHS consultancy.

“ORC members are strong believers in the importance of management systems, and while the devil is in the details, ORC remains supportive of the potential benefits of this proposed rule,” said Frank White, ORC sneior vice president.

There was general agreement that the rule should require employers to implement a system that would identify hazards, assess and abate risks, but stakeholders had differing opinions as to whether the rule should focus on all major hazards or only those that lead to serious injuries and fatalities, according to the ORC post. Several labor reps emphasized the importance of issuing a rule that would require employers not only to implement a system, but to take actions to mitigate risks and hazards.

“The success of the standard hinges on OSHA becoming more than an enforcer,” explained White. “OSHA needs to provide employers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, with educational resources such as checklists, tool kits, and appendices.”

According to American Industrial Hygiene Association Director of Government Affairs, Aaron Trippler, “OSHA is being upfront in saying that any final program rule is probably a year or two away - at best,”

Writing in his monthly “Happenings on the Hill” newsletter, Trippler remarked: “While attending the Injury and Illness Prevention Program meeting in Washington, I overheard someone say that this meeting would do nothing to influence OSHA as they developed a program proposal. The actual comment was something along the line that ‘this is nothing more than a PR gimmick. OSHA has no intention of listening to industry.’

“I can’t tell you whether or not this comment will be true. It is probably asking too much for anyone to believe that government will listen to what stakeholders have to say and then follow through with some of these ideas. And the pessimism is well-founded based on past experience. Only time will tell if the same thing will happen this time.