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Just about every workplace is festooned with OSHA compliance posters and wall charts discussing some aspect of safety in the workplace. You have posters describing lockout tag out procedures alongside wall charts about electrical safety and first aid.
Office workers, who don’t face anything approaching the number of dangers lurking around every corner as builders, forklift operators, or electricians, don’t escape the mélange. The environment of the desk jockey is dotted with posters instructing them how to lift a box of copy paper without slipping a disc as well as detailed protocols telling them which fire extinguisher to use on what type of fire. Eventually, all these warnings blend into the background.
All this literature pollution is there for a reason, and that reason is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 2017, more than 5,000 people went to work and never came home. That’s an average of 99 workplace fatalities each week or 14 deaths every day. We haven’t mentioned the thousands of life-changing injuries that happen at work.
One in five worker deaths takes place in the construction industry. Of these, nearly 600 lives per year could be saved by eliminating the “Fatal Four” causes of private sector worker deaths:
It was President Nixon who signed OSHA into existence in 1970 with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Since then, the agency has been tasked with keeping all of us safe at work. The act mandates a minimum standard of workplace safety and health that is the responsibility of all employers. OSHA accomplished its mission via workplace inspections, training, and education.
Throughout its half century of existence, there is hardly an aspect of working life that OSHA hasn’t closely examined and make safer on the shop floor. What the agency has discovered is there is hardly a serious accident that couldn’t have been prevented had the person or persons involved been properly trained. It now regards either training as so integral to safety at work that it levies hefty penalties on employees that fail to ensure their workers receive such training, by hiring OSHA-certified staff or training them once they’re on the job.
While OSHA does not itself undertake safety training, it does clearly specify what should be taught as part of a certification program. One such program is the OSHA 10-hour safety certification. To earn this credential, students must undergo 10 hours of training in the following areas:
If you employ certain personnel and they have not been OSHA-certified as having attended this training program, you must send them out on this course. Alternatively, you can invite a certified trainer to conduct the training on your premises to save travel and accommodation expenses as well as down time.
The types of personnel you should train include warehouse employees, maintenance technicians, stationary engineers, owners and managers, linemen and utility workers, fire alarm technicians, mechanics, electricians, environmental health and safety personnel, and plant and maintenance facility technicians, to name a few.
Training your staff yields multiple returns on your investment. The most tangible benefit in terms of cold, hard cash is avoiding OSHA citations and not having to pay fines, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars if an inspector determines a violation is the result of willful negligence. The next most tangible benefit, fewer accidents, lower costs, and reduced down time, is harder to quantify, since you don’t know how many accidents would happen if your staff weren’t trained to OSHA safety standard.
There are also less quantifiable advantages to having your workers trained, but they are no less important. Training the people on your staff shows that you are concerned about their welfare and that you are willing to invest in their future. This may reflect itself in increased productivity and employee loyalty. In other words, it can improve employee satisfaction and retention.
NTT Training delivers expert, hands-on trade and safety training all over the world. You can send your employees to one of our training centers, or we can come to you and train your staff on site in OSHA compliance. Connect with NTT today to learn how to create a safety-conscious culture and protect the people who work for you.
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