questionsCertain consultants and attorneys make a practice of sending the word out that the sky is falling and here comes another onerous OSHA standard.

Take this from an email I received this morning:

“After years of deliberation, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will soon release a rule requiring employers to develop a written injury and illness prevention program (IIPP).

“What will this rule mean for your business? If you don’t already have an IIPP, developing one will certainly cost time and money. But, despite these short-term costs, OSHA anticipates that the rule will produce savings in the long run. A study cited in a January 2012 OSHA white paper indicates that IIPP programs have consistently increased productivity, reduced costs, and improved both employee retention and morale.

”The effect of OSHA’s proposed rule on small businesses deserves special note.  This new requirement will be yet another legal hoop for small-business owners to leap through.

“OSHA has been pushing for a federal IIPP requirement for years, and it will likely be here before we know it.”

No it won’t. Even OSHA officials conceded the I2P2 program is years away from becoming an official mandate, if it ever does.

Says OSHA boss Dr. David Michaels: “OSHA's proposal is in its very early stages.”

That lack of near-term action doesn’t cut it with the “sky is falling” OSHA as ogre crowd, which want to create a sense of near-panic to attract consulting clients.

Again, Dr. Michaels: “We've just begun the process of working on a rule that would require all employers to set up a process to manage hazards in the workplace before someone gets hurt.

“We have conducted 5 stakeholder meetings all across the country. The next step is for us to gather comments from small businesses during the small business review process. That process will be followed by the publication of a proposal, a notice and comment period and extensive public hearings.”

Certainly does not sound to me like I2P2 is “soon to be released.”

This kind of OSHA-fear mongering, designed to stir up demand for OSHA consulting services and make some bucks, is unethical and only worsens already tense relations between the agency and employers.