The white paper, New Approaches to Establishing National Workplace Safety and Health Policy, pointed out that the United States already is falling behind other regions of the world in adopting safety and health policies that protect workers. For example, while the country continues to rely on outdated hazard-specific standards, both developed and developing nations around the world are recognizing this approach cannot keep up with the pace of workplace change. As a result, outside the United States, employers are acknowledging their obligation to evaluate all workplace risks and address them appropriately with management systems and competent safety and health resources.
According to the white paper, the lack of progress in the United States is due in part “to our collective inability to forge new consensus approaches to improving workplace safety and health policy at the national level.”
ORC’s white paper made three specific recommendations designed to create a more collaborative infrastructure:
- Conduct a structured, facilitated “national dialogue” to develop specific strategies and an action plan for promoting, incentivizing and assuring the adoption by all U.S. employers of systems-based approaches to assessing and reducing safety and health risks.
- Engage in public process for conducting a comprehensive multidisciplinary expert evaluation of the stagnated OSHA standards-setting system and for developing specific recommendations for workable legislative and administrative improvements and effective alternatives.
- Establish open and transparent institutional mechanisms and forums for stakeholders to participate in the development of key national safety and health policy initiatives as well as in the prioritization of such initiatives.
ORC stressed that the 2008 election presents all those in the safety and health community with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to break the “longstanding gridlock” on progress in many key areas of safety and health policy.
“ORC is optimistic that this election has the potential to bring a greater level of change than we have seen in nearly a generation to the ways Washington approaches the challenges facing our nation,” the white paper read. “In this time of unprecedented national and global challenges, we in the safety and health community should all search for new ways of thinking about how to advance worker safety and health over the long term and how to increase the likelihood of finding common ground on important issues,”
Download the ORC white paper to learn more.