The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in December 1970 with a signature from then-president Richard Nixon. As you’ve probably heard many times, it made businesses like yours officially responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace to assure the safety of your workers.
OSHA does its part by developing health and safety standards and enforcing them through work site inspections. And although OSHA is a small agency (around 2500 inspectors) and doesn’t have the resources to cover 130 million workers at over eight million worksites, you would not want to run afoul of them.
Safety makes sense for everyone
You care about your employees; that in itself a good enough reason to keep them safe. But think about the benefits that a safe workplace provides for your business. If a worker is injured and can’t work, your business suffers because you’re losing production and your workers’ compensation rates will increase. And, if it happens too often, you could show up on OSHA’s radar screen.
In 2017, serious workplace violations will have serious penalties. A serious violation, which carried a $7,000 penalty in 2016, will now be $12,471. If you don’t remedy the hazard in the allotted time–called Failure to Abate–you could be fined $12,471 per day after the abatement date. Willful or repeated violators will be fined a whopping $124,709 per violation!
Be prepared at all times
Knowing that OSHA is understaffed, it might be tempting to ignore the potential for an inspection. Unfortunately, that could mean delaying the necessary preparation until it’s too late.
Given the hefty fines that OSHA can impose for non-compliance, being unprepared is not an option. But there are strategies you can take to ensure you survive an inspection:
- Check out future regulations: Look at the OSHA site regularly to find the latest rules so you know what you must do to stay in compliance with them.
- Always know OSHA’s latest initiatives: After looking at last year’s data, OSHA focuses on problem issues. Find out what they are and make sure your company is in compliance with these initiatives.
- Keep up with frequently issued citations: Citations are often issued for Personal Protective Equipment non-use, electrical codes and not having an Emergency Action Plan. Make sure you know all of them and don’t be blind-sided by an inspection.
- Do your paperwork: You should always have a log of all work-related injuries and illnesses. Also, make sure you have all of the required written programs and training programs that are needed for your facility.
Staying on top of OSHA’s ever-changing laws and regulations is not easy, but it is critical. Talk to one of our staffing experts. They have the experience to guide you through your questions and concerns on a broad range of business-related topics.