According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), injuries and illnesses sustained in the workplace cost the U.S. over $53 billion in worker’s compensation in 2008. Clearly, having a program in place to reduce illnesses and injuries as much as possible can result in huge savings for laboratories and other workplaces, along with keeping workers healthy and safe.

Here are three of the most successful programs to limit sickness and injury on the job, according to OSHA:

  • Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). These programs involve OSHA, staff, and management working together to prevent illnesses, injuries, and deaths through: management commitment and worker involvement; training; worksite analysis; and hazard prevention and control.
  •  
  • Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). This program rewards the achievements of small businesses that run outstanding health and safety management systems.
  •  
  • OSHA Challenge Program. This challenge encourages employers to take preventive measures to stop workplace accidents by providing an online guide that shows them what goals they need to achieve to meet VPP requirements for health and safety. OSHA rewards companies as they make gradual improvements in safety and health through this program.

For guidance on forming a health and safety plan, lab managers can use AIHA/ANSI Z10 2005, a voluntary consensus standard containing requirements and outlining how to boost health and safety in the workplace. Meeting the worldwide workplace health and safety management system specification OHSAS 18001 could also be helpful for labs.

For more information on health and safety programs, click here.