NSC: Henshaw Focuses On OSHA's Strategy For The Future

The "triple bottom line" for OSHA is reducing injuries illnesses and deaths on the job, OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said at a keynote session at the National Safety Congress, held this week in Chicago.

He said the agency's strategy is fully focused on reaching that goal, adding OSHA signed an alliance with the National Safety Council to advance workplace safety and health.

During his remarks, Henshaw said the country's return on its investment in job safety and health must be a continual reduction in workplace fatalities and injuries.

"We have a sound plan, a balanced approach, and an innovative and creative strategy," Henshaw said. "We will continue our work with safety and health professionals, employers and workers to get results. This strategy can move us forward to our ultimate goal: zero injuries, illnesses and deaths in America's workplaces."

The pursuit of that goal is the foundation of OSHA's five-year Strategic Management Plan, Henshaw said. Calling for a "balanced approach to achieve maximum results," he said OSHA will focus on performance measures, outcomes and leading and trailing measures to determine its impact, allowing the agency to continue to target high hazard workplaces and focus on hard-to-reach workers such as immigrants and contract workers who frequently change jobs. The agency also will place additional efforts on issues facing teenaged workers.

Echoing remarks he made at the American Society of Safety Engineers' Conference in Denver in June, Henshaw said OSHA must address nontraditional areas, such as homeland security and workplace emergencies, motor vehicle accidents and workplace violence, using a variety of outreach and cooperative programs.

Henshaw took a walk down memory lane by examining OSHA's accomplishments since he addressed the NSC in 2002. He cited an enhanced enforcement program to address recalcitrant employers, continuing progress for the agency's comprehensive plan on ergonomics, intensified outreach to Hispanic and immigrant workers, and a steady increase in strategic partnerships and new alliances.

Goals for the future include a dramatic increase in the Voluntary Protection Program, with three new VPP pilot programs: VPP Challenge, VPP Corporate and VPP Construction, which could add up to 2,000 additional VPP sites.

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