Top Three Ways to Avoid Increased OSHA Fines
Jul 20, 2016 James Robins | EHS Today
With OSHA’s impending penalty increase, companies must empower employees, embrace technology and be prepared to ensure compliance success.
Develop a culture where employees are encouraged to speak up, without fear of retribution, about potential safety hazards and concerns. For example, employees in health, safety or construction, are often the ones in the field and on the ground, and may see things management doesn’t. By providing a way for staff to anonymously report potentially hazardous situations, employers can take the necessary actions to resolve the issue.
Designate an employee or employees to conduct regular safety checks, and implement training programs so that everyone is on the same page. Provide your in-house safety inspector with a record-keeping system like a mobile form for real-time accountability, and to ensure that safety is monitored constantly, and hazards are being flagged up the chain.
Regardless of industry, from a construction site, a retail store or a typical office setting, staying compliant has its own set of challenges. Stay on top of current regulations and workplace inspections by leaning on mobile technology, which can help reduce the amount of dollars and time spent on outdated processes and inefficient paperwork.
Using a mobile app for workplace inspections provides teams with the tools and information they need at their fingertips. Mobile users can have access to daily inspection checklists to remain OSHA compliant, which can provide regular access to ergonomics best practices, emergency management, construction safety, EPA indoor air quality, or forklift safety.
Additionally, data gathered can be an invaluable asset, where tracking and consistently evaluating processes and procedures in real-time can allow sites to instantly take corrective actions. Mobile platforms offer the real-time flow of communication to empower companies to act on non-compliance issues, and provide a documented date and time-stamped inspection that can be immediately pulled down from the cloud in case of an OSHA inspection and/or employee compliant/lawsuit.
The stakes for a violation are higher than ever, and even the thought of a fine can be intimidating in and of itself. By developing a plan early, everyone, from management to employees, is prepared when the time comes for an inspection. Just like practicing for a fire drill in school, when everyone is better informed and well-prepared to go through an inspection, nerves are calmed, employees are equipped and inspections are organized. Prep teams with mock interviews to ensure employees understand their rights during inspections. Conduct regular “surprise” inspections that are true to OSHA rules to help set the stage for the real thing.
An OSHA inspection can be a frightening prospect and the newly-enforced violation increase can put businesses in danger of losing their financial footing. With a shaky economy and ever-changing landscape, the last thing anyone needs is a fine or violation that can go into five figures. By taking the steps above, organizations, small and large, can ensure employees and the state of their business is in good shape.