OSHA Paper Focuses on Safety and Health's Core Role in Sustainability

"It is clear that more and more businesses are building the concept of sustainability into their operations," said Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "We believe the next innovation is integrating worker safety and health into these sustainability strategies."

OSHA released a white paper this week titled "Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Protecting Worker Safety and Health." In it, the agency highlights the importance of including worker safety and health in the growing movement toward sustainability and corporate responsibility.

"It is clear that more and more businesses are building the concept of sustainability into their operations," said Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "We believe the next innovation is integrating worker safety and health into these sustainability strategies."

According to the agency, sustainability "strives to balance social, environmental, and economic considerations to achieve long term success and viability. Responsible firms currently embrace the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit to achieve sustainability goals. While these efforts have mostly focused on environmental issues, such as resource usage and emissions reductions, attention is now turning to other aspects of sustainability, including occupational safety and health (OSH)."

The paper highlights ways sustainability can be leveraged to reimagine and identify innovative approaches for advancing safety and health, such as:

  • Creating new partnerships to support integrated OSH and sustainability activities
  • Enhancing interdisciplinary training and education for workers, the OSH community, and business professionals
  • Measuring the impact of safety and health performance on business outcomes
  • Recognizing employers that successfully integrate OSH into sustainability efforts
  • Improving access to data on safety and health for sustainability reporting

For more information and to download the paper, visit http://www.osha.gov/sustainability.

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