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Implementing an Effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program

Injury and illness prevention programs are an effective tool for reducing occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Many workplaces have already adopted similar approaches as part of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) and Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) for small employers.

Not only do these workplaces experience significant decreases in workplace injuries, but they often report a transformed workplace culture that can lead to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover, reduced costs and greater worker satisfaction.

Injury and illness prevention programs should include the systematic identification, evaluation and prevention or control of general workplace hazards and the hazards of specific jobs and tasks.

The following are the major elements of an effective program, and specific actions you can take to implement an injury and illness prevention program in your workplace:

  1. Management Leadership
  • Establish clear safety and health goals for the program and define the actions needed to achieve those goals.
  • Make one or more individuals responsible for implementing and maintaining the program.
  • Provide sufficient resources to ensure effective program implementation.
  1. Worker Participation
  • Consult with workers in developing and implementing the program and involve them in updating and evaluating the program.
  • Include workers in workplace inspections and incident investigations.
  • Encourage workers to report concerns, such as hazards, injuries, illnesses and near misses.
  • Protect the rights of workers who participate in the program.
  1. Hazard Identification and Assessment
  • Identify, assess and document workplace hazards by soliciting input from workers, inspecting the workplace and reviewing available information on hazards.