“It is alarming that today in the U.S. 13 people-a-day are dying from work-related injuries, a total of 4,609 workers died in 2011 from on-the-job injuries. This is a serious problem that we find unacceptable. These incidents can be prevented. Effective management systems help identify safety and health issues before they result in injury, and establish prevention strategies that can protect all workers. Remember, these are 4,609 people who left for work in the morning and never returned home to their families.
As we have with every Administration, we look forward to continuing to work with this Administration and those it chooses to lead the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and safety-related agencies to continue our shared commitment to the safety and health of Americans at work.
ASSE wants OSHA to assure the occupational safety and health community that they will have an appropriate balance between enforcement and cooperative efforts. Our key concern is to do what we can to make sure OSHA moves forward towards a more risk-based approach to regulation, an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) standard or simply by updating its guidelines for I2P2s and being a leader in helping those companies who do not use I2P2s learn to use them.
Every company should enjoy the positive benefits of a meaningful safety and health system that our best employers have long understood. And though we fully understand the limits on OSHA’s ability to do so, as safety and health professionals we have to remain committed to seeing that OSHA does everything it can to keep abreast of the widely accepted voluntary consensus standards our members use every day. We cannot have a two-tiered system of safety in this country, one that our best companies follow based on the science of today and another system based on the science of decades ago. All workers, no matter the size or capabilities of their employer, should have the same protections.
ASSE encourages Congress to engage in a meaningful dialogue that can achieve long-overdue agreement on issues like moving forward on updating OSHA’s decades-old permissible exposure limits (PELs); make it easier for OSHA to make use of voluntary consensus standards; encouraging employer commitment to safety through third party audits; putting OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) into law; and, making sure NIOSH is given an organizational independence that fits its unique role as the only resource for occupational safety and health research and education.
ASSE also looks forward to working with the 113th Congress and all elected leaders to succeed in making sure that all employees who go to work leave work injury and illness free to return home safely to their families every day.”
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety society. Its more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professional members are committed to protecting people, property and the environment. For more information please go to www.asse.org.