OSHA: Sustainability Can Advance Worker Safety, Health
A new white paper from OSHA argues that worker health and safety should be an integral part of the growing movement toward sustainability and corporate responsibility. The white paper, Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Protecting Worker Safety and Health, discusses ways in which sustainability can be leveraged to advance worker safety and health beyond OSHA’s traditional role of standard-setting and enforcement.
“The sustainability movement is going to continue to advance whether or not OSHA and the OSH community choose to actively engage,” the white paper reads. “Where OSH is not part of the discussion, individuals, companies, and organizations that present themselves, their activities, or their products as sustainable may not be doing what is best for their workers.”
The white paper, which was published in December, also provides an overview of the sustainability movement; a description of the connection between OSH and sustainability; and lessons learned in the area of reporting and metrics. A table of proposed OSH elements for sustainability reporting included in the “lessons learned” section of the white paper is adapted from a guide released earlier this year by the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS). The CSHS report (PDF) defines several metrics and best practices in occupational health and safety sustainability reporting.
OSHA concludes the document with potential actions that the agency and others can take toward the full integration of OSH within sustainability and discusses ways that sustainability might be used to advance worker health.
Download the paper from OSHA’s website.