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Workplace Safety


By November 1, 2011No Comments

Employers are fined millions of dollars each year for OSHA violations. The citations that result in fines are often overlooked by supervisors. Although employees usually receive generic information about OSHA standards in most workplaces, it’s important to implement training procedures that make OSHA’s rules clearer. It’s important for employees and employers to be aware of the penalties. To make the workplace more efficient and reduce OSHA penalty risks, consider the following changes.

Ergonomic Support. Companies that find ways to prevent repetitive motion disorders won’t face penalties and citations from OSHA. Another benefit these employers enjoy is a lower Workers Compensation premium. The best way to implement one of these low-cost changes is to analyze how workers perform tasks, look for strain reduction techniques and implement new changes. Focus on strain reduction techniques for backs, necks and joints.

Keep Better Records. Good documentation is one of the best ways to avoid OSHA penalties. When OSHA inspectors note gaps in the 300 log, they usually implement a full safety audit. If there are log deficiencies in the past few years, be sure to invest the necessary time to fix them. Employee files and workers’ compensation records can usually supply the missing information.

Implement a Disaster Plan. It’s important to have a plan that is effective. Famous earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, pandemics and terrorist attacks in history have taught everyone that preparedness is the key to surviving any disaster. Be sure that all emergency disaster plans include the following:

  • Safe building evacuation procedures.
  • Training for employees regarding what to do during emergencies.
  • Proper sanitation and hygiene procedures.
  • Arranging for business operation from remote locations.
  • Stocking emergency supplies, food and first-aid kits.
  • Communication methods and procedures for customers, vendors and families.

Remedy Routine Violations. Some of the most costly safety violations are easy and cheap to correct. The following violations result in costly fines but are easy to fix:

  • Exits that are partially or fully blocked.
  • Dirty or hazardous work areas due to poor housekeeping.
  • Lack of goggles, gloves, covers and other required safety equipment.
  • Flammable and dangerous materials that are stored improperly.

Although they’re simple problems to prevent initially, they’re on a list of the most common OSHA violations. These problems are often easy to overlook. It’s important to implement procedures and checklists to ensure they’re never an issue.

Consider Safety as a Profit Instead of a Cost. The cost of implementing and maintaining proper safety procedures can be viewed as a profit or a cost. Those who view it as a cost are more likely to find themselves with a handful of OSHA citations. They’ll also find that those citations are far more expensive than the cost of preventing the problems. Employers who view the safety standards as a profit are more likely to implement strict procedures and have a good system for maintaining them. The small cost of keeping safety procedures in operation is considered a wise investment. Another important issue to consider is that insurance doesn’t always cover the cost of workplace accidents that result from employee negligence. Most of the OSHA standards are in place to prevent negligence. With that thought in mind, it’s important to remember that any accident resulting from failure to comply with OSHA may not be covered by insurance. This is another good reason to follow the standards set by OSHA. For questions about workplace insurance policies and the specifics of what is covered in them, contact us.