Meeting OSHA Requirements for Safety

 

Making certain that your workplace is safe is important for your employees, coworkers and the property owner.  In spite of what some people view as unnecessary interference in the ability to get a job done, the purpose of OSHA requirements is to save lives and injuries to a worker or bystander.  Last year, more than 20% of the safety violations cited against companies resulted in workers’ deaths.

The Penalties for Failing to Comply

Some employers are under the impression that the worst thing that will happen to them for failing to comply with OSHA standards is a slap on the wrist and a fine.  This is not true.  Before deciding that OSHA regulations are too “complicated” or “unwieldy”, weigh the penalties against the cost of following the law.

OSHA has the authority to penalize an employer, the supervisors, the business entity, owner and /or executives of a corporation in both civil and criminal court.  Violations are kept in a business’ permanent record with OSHA for as long as the business operates. In addition, the owners and supervisors of each business are also kept on file and any violations associated with them at one location follows their employment history.  If your employer is cited and you, as a manager or supervisor cease to work for them because of continued violations, it serves your best interest to inform OSHA of the reasons for changing jobs.

Civil penalties are based on the severity of the violation, an employer’s attempts to come into compliance within a reasonable amount of time, any prior violations in the business’ history and the size of the operation.  The last element also determines the amount of the fine, which can be as much as $50,000 per violation cited.

Criminal penalties are much more severe resulting in both misdemeanor and felony charges depending on the outcome of the actions. Criminal charges are filed when

  • false information is given to OSHA
  • an OSHA inspector is assaulted – including pushing, shoving, hitting or threats – hampered by actions such as verbal arguments, threats or standing in the way to block an inspection – or that result in the death of the inspector
  • giving notice to workers on the job site that an inspection is scheduled with the express, written authority to notify them in advance
  • any time a person dies at a site where safety violations have been ignored – the person does not have to be someone associated with the project or site

Compliance Is Easy

Every type of job has safety guidelines and regulations.  Every company that has people employed and working in the U.S. must teach every employee the safety regulations that apply to them and file the appropriate documents to show compliance.  In addition, supervisors and on site managers should do their own safety inspections at least once a week to ensure that the requirements are being met.

OSHA provides free English and Spanish training videos, power point presentations and checklists online for employers, managers and supervisors to use and hold refresher meetings.  Ignoring safety issues does result in severe injuries and deaths that could have been avoided.


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August 1, 2014 by

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