The list of workplace standards the Occupational Safety and Health Act enforces is long and can be taxing for employers to oversee and enforce. Every year, the 10 most often violated standards are published by Safety and Health magazine, and that list doesn’t change much from year to year. Here are the top 10:
Half of these violations pertain to the construction industry specifically, the rest, to all industries.
Although many employers find abiding by and training employees to abide by OSHA standards onerous, the reward for doing so is a healthier workforce with fewer accidents in what is increasingly a complex and often dangerous modern economic landscape. Since the creation of OSHA in 1970, the agency has worked to prevent injuries and illness and to save lives.
It appears the agency has succeeded, since the overall workplace death rate fell by half from 1970. At times, the successes have been dramatic, such as the elimination of such deadly conditions as brown lung disease in the textile industry, while blood poisoning in battery plants and smelters has been reduced by two-thirds.
Studies also show that in a three-year period following an OSHA inspection with penalties, illnesses and injuries drop by an average of 22 percent. Overall, illness and injury rates have declined in those industries where OSHA has maintained a presence, but have either remained unchanged or increases in industries where OSHA has been less prominent.
Even so, more than 6,000 Americans die from workplace injuries each year, while 50,000 die from workplace chemical exposures, and 6 million are injured in the workplace. These injuries cost our economy more than $110 billion a year.
Good training of employees and managers can help reduce penalties during an OSHA inspection, as well as the number of illnesses and injuries that occur in the workplace. A good training program also indirectly helps ensure lower insurance rates, due to the low rate of injuries and illnesses.
A wide range of employees may benefit from OSHA safety training, such as:
OSHA safety training will ideally help employees and employers design and implement employee protection programs. A typical training will include review and discussion of OSHA, as well as how to avoid citations and penalties. Another goal should be learning how to attain recognition by the U.S. Department of Labor as having completed training by an OSHA-authorized trainer.
As of 1995, OSHA has taken measures to treat employers who put some effort into creating vital health and safety programs in a different manner than those who haven’t invested in such programs. This approach has been designed to increase safety while easing the sometimes adversarial relationship between business and regulators, by putting responsibility for ensuring safety on the managers and workers at the worksite.
OSHA asks employers who take this approach to develop programs that include a commitment from management, participation by employees, an effort to discover health and safety hazards (whether covered by existing standards or not), documentation of the hazards that are fixed, employee and supervisor training, and reduction in illness and injuries.
This partnership with OSHA has been promoted for more than 20 years now on the premises that most employers care about protecting their workers. For those who work with their employees and OSHA to reduce injuries and illnesses, OSHA’s special recognition will include lower priority for enforcement inspections, along with rare occurrence of inspections, as well as a high priority to receive assistance, relief from some regulations, and reductions of penalties (as much as 100 percent).
Firms that make a sincere attempt to improve safety standards but need improvement will be able to take advantage of a sliding scale of incentives, which are determined based on how much effort the employer has put into finding and fixing hazards.
NTT Training’s OSHA: 10 Hour Safety Training could offer you and your employees the best opportunity of learning how to find and fix hazards, so that you can significantly reduce illnesses and injuries in your workplace. Don’t hesitate, connect with NTT Training today.
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