OSHA’s most recent semi-annual regulatory agenda included an injury and illness prevention program (I2P2) in the “prerule” stage, writes American Industrial Hygiene Association Government Affairs Director Aaron Trippler in his latest “Happenings from the Hill” dispatch.

Writes Trippler: “The agency didn’t waste any time in moving forward with this idea. OSHA has announced a series of stakeholder meetings to gather information to develop a rule that will help employers reduce workplace injuries and illnesses through a systematic process that proactively addresses workplace safety and health standards.

“This issue has been discussed for many years, dating way back to 1995 when OSHA held the first series of stakeholder meetings. In 1998, OSHA developed a draft proposed rule and went so far as to convene a small business panel to discuss the effort. However, a proposed rule was never published and the rulemaking effort was removed from the Regulatory Agenda in 2002.

“Simply stated, a program standard would provide a mechanism for employers to identify hazards while the control of those hazards would be required by existing OSHA standards and the general duty clause.

“There seems to be a high level of support for I2P2 in some sectors, but there is also concern from many in industry that OSHA may include substantial requirements for ergonomics within the program. There is also talk that the program may include chemical hazards. If this occurs, look for a huge battle over the program. Either way, this program is a long way from being implemented.”