Every business strives to create a safe working environment for their employees. Following OSHA requirements is a way to minimize downtime and ensure all workers are able to do their jobs safely. When it comes to non-compliance, it is easy to fall into a long-winding trap. From ergonomic oversights and wiring errors to unsafe scaffolding, the list of offenses can run the gamut. Even minor errors or oversights can prove costly. Fortunately, proper OSHA training enables your organization to avoid these unwanted non-compliance issues.
Costly mistakes can happen even when the standards are clear but they are minimized. OSHA imposes different types of penalties depending on the nature of the violation. Serious violations result in severe bodily harm or loss of life. The events may occur even when the employer was (or should have been) aware of the hazard. The fine for this offense can run into thousands of dollars.
The ‘Other Than Serious Violation’ pertains to cases that do not result in serious injuries or death. The violations emanate from a link between job safety or workplace health. The proposed penalty is discretionary and can run into thousands of dollars. The applicable fine can be reduced based on the concerned entity’s track record, good faith, or severity of the case.
Additional penalties include willful violation, repeated violation, and de minimis violation. Conviction of a willful violation that results in loss of life can result in imprisonment (up to six months), a court-imposed fine or both. It is possible for the offending organization to incur a fine of up to $500,000.
Businesses are taking advantage of classes and seminars offered by accredited training vendors to stay up-to-date with OSHA education and training. The official OSHA website also offers access to educational resources to augment outreach training programs.
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) – OSHA stipulates procedures to prevent bodily harm resulting from the release of hazardous energy or unexpected startup of equipment in the workplace. According to a report published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, LOTO helps prevent up to 50,000 injuries and 120 fatalities annually.
The standard provides practical ways to comply with the site lockout procedures. In turn, your organization does not have to deal with cases of injuries or loss of life.
Machine guarding – By following prescribed practices, you can eliminate the possibility of moving machine parts causing grievous bodily harm. Accidents involving machine parts typically result in burns, amputations, crushed hands, or fatalities. This type of risk can be avoided by emphasizing the need to report missing or damaged guards. Also, workers should desist from bypassing a moving equipment guard.
Hazard communication – Reckless handling of toxic chemicals can cause sensitization, carcinogenicity, and irritation. Some of the chemicals are highly reactive, corrosive and flammable. Make an effort to ensure that employees are familiar with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).
It is also vital to implement proper preventative mechanisms around the workplace. Doing so eliminates the possibility of harmful exposure to chemicals.
Workplace falls are one of the most common hazards employees face. From slipping on wet surfaces to falling from elevated structures, the problem is a perennial safety concern for companies. The resultant injuries usually affect multiple body parts. The injured workers require lengthy recovery times, which affects production.
Fall protection systems are designed to prevent workers from falling or safely stop or arrest a falling worker. OSHA required trigger height for installing fall protection mechanisms is 4 feet for general industry and 6 feet for construction. The systems come in a wide variety, including guardrails, hole covers, safety chains, and ladder cages.
OSHA provides guidance on the use of ladders in the workplace. Depending on the ladder’s verified load-bearing capability, each unit should be able to support three to four times the listed load capacity. The required minimum is 250-pound loads on two rungs. It is recommended that the ladders should be independently tested. The space between the rungs on standard ladders must be between eight and 18 inches apart.
You can ensure that your organization meets the general requirements by installing safe electrical connections. Applicable regulations require all metal elements on workplaces to be grounded. Temporary power systems cannot exceed 600 volts unless additional power is needed in the event of emergencies, testing, or experiments.
Additionally, flexible cords and cables require protection from physical damage and must have adequate support above ground. Physical damage can be caused by straps, cable ties, or staples.