Last month I covered how OSHA is stepping up inspections, going for higher and more maximum penalties on companies that are not compliant in providing a safe and healthful work environment free of known hazards which may cause illness, injury or death.
Some of the comments I hear from clients are, “I am a small business, OHSA doesn’t have time to inspect me”, ”We haven’t had any accidents in years, so we must be compliant” “I’ll worry about OSHA when they show up”. These are the most common attitudes of a majority of companies both small and large and the sad part is when the compliance officer comes knocking on the door, it is going to become expensive in more ways then one. As mentioned last month if you are compliant you should have no major issues.
In August a company in Yuma, Arizona was inspected by OSHA on a referral complaint from either another government agency or entity. The company had 14 citations covering failure to enforce eye protection, failure to have a hearing conservation program and hearing protection, failure to have a lockout/tag out program, failure to have forklift operators trained and certified, forklift with inoperable parking brakes and broken propane fuel tank straps, missing guards on equipment, failure to have a written program to protect employees from exposure to lead, employees exposed to lead above the permissible limits allowed to name some of the violation. What did this cost the company in penalties? The total came to $49,000 for failure to protect employees and be in compliance with the OSHA standards and law. When all is said and done, the fines are only the beginning, because now the company will have to abate all of the violations and work hard and fast to become compliant on a schedule that OSHA establishes in the notice of violations and penalties. (Source ICA web site)
On the upside, one of our clients who install commercial air conditioning units in new commercial construction requested we conduct unannounced safety inspections of his job sites on a monthly bases. The client received written reports of our findings with a copy going to the general contractor. After the first 3 months the client started to see the light and took a serious proactive approach to our safety inspections. His proactive approach to safety for his employees paid off many times over when OSHA showed up on the large complex he was working in August of this year. At the time there where approximately 25 sub contractors working on the job site. All of the sub contractors were inspected and our client was one of 6 who were found to have zero violations.
Why was his company one of the 6 who had zero OSHA violation when all of the other sub contractors had numerous violations? The owner read our reports, asked question, made the recommended corrective actions we suggested, trained his employees, had all of the required documentation on the job site, made sure all tools had guards, ladders were safe, fall protection was being used properly, etc..
As mentioned in earlier articles and blogs, management really needs to look at a comprehensive safety program as a profit center, not a cost center. When management takes a pro-active position on safety, injuries, damage to equipment, workers compensation and liability premiums decrease and when the OSHA compliance officer comes for a visit they should have the compliance inspection report our client experienced with no violations or penalties.
The company inspected in Yuma was not proactive on safety for their employs. Don’t repeat their mistakes. Are You Ready?
If you want to read the inspection report on the company referenced to in Yuma go to the web site for Industrial Commission of Arizona. On the home page go to the tool bar at the top and click on minutes. When the archives for 2009 appears, click on the week of August 27th and scroll down to ADOSH inspections. The company referenced in this article will be the first inspection report.
National PEO now offers the OSHA General Industry 10 and 30 hours courses as well as the OSHA Construction 10 and 30 hour courses. We can conduct the training at your facility or our training facility. Contact us for additional information.