Workplace accidents are responsible for approximately 4,000–5,000 fatalities and 3 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the United States each year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2013) has recently presented data that suggest that the construction industry is experiencing an increasing trend for fatal accidents which also includes a disturbing increase in fatalities involving workers who are 16 years of age or younger. The reported trends for general industry may not seem as alarming but, nonetheless, suggest a general lack of effectiveness in current efforts to significantly reduce workplace fatalities and nonfatal accidents.

Many of these workplace accidents are associated with hazards that are well recognized within industry and already included within many of the subject-specific standards promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The apparent failure of existing standards has also steered OSHA toward recognizing certain limitations within their current regulatory framework for administrative rulemaking, compliance, and enforcement. The essential elements that are required for effective health and safety management have evolved from knowledge gained in part from OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). Organizations from each of these programs have demonstrated a successful record for recognizing, preventing, and controlling hazards in the workplace. These observations have helped OSHA craft their vision for promulgating a new rule requiring employers to develop and implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2), which was announced through the Federal Register in 2010.

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