Two of the nation's largest worker safety associations -- the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Industrial Hygiene Assoc. -- are pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make the injury/illness prevention program (I2P2) rule a top priority in 2013.

The groups will urge the Obama Administration to push for a program rule that is heavily risk-based, meaning it would require employers to do whatever is necessary to protect worker safety. Hazard assessment and a written safety and health program, which are key parts of an injury and illness prevention plan, are parts of minimum acceptable professional practice on any work site, they claim.

OSHA Chief David Michaels has stated publically that the I2P2 rule is his top regulatory priority.

The rulemaking has been long delayed. OSHA's most recent regulatory agenda listed a March start date to begin a small business review of draft regulatory text. In February, that was pushed back indefinitely due to a “delay in the preparation of the package.” The rule’s text has not been made public.

Business advocates fear that President Obama's re-election will give OSHA a green light to move ahead with the aggressive enforcement agenda that has characterized its last four years and worry that an onslaught of cumbersome new regulations will choke off economic growth.