The National Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health has urged OSHA to strengthen the health components of its proposed update to the agency’s safety and health program management guidelines and make the document more accessible to small employers. Testimony during a hearing reviewing the draft proposal (as reported by Business Insurance) indicated that small employers could have difficulty understanding the guidelines and that the draft did not adequately incorporate worker participation in creating a safety culture. However, the major criticism was aimed at the treatment of occupational disease. Manuel Gomez, a retired public health scientist, testified, “Occupational diseases cause about 10 times more fatalities than safety hazards. In light of that, I think there’s a need to enhance the extent to which the document addresses occupational health hazards and occupational diseases more explicitly. As it reads now, it sounds like a safety document with some rare exceptions.” The final update to the guidelines is expected in June.
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