A visit from OSHA is generally not a common occurrence, nor is it a "good" thing, from your perspective. OSHA, as the federal agency that regulates workplace safety and health, has the authority to issue costly citations for hazard and compliance violations. In repeat cases, OSHA can put you on its watch list, and in severe situations may even effectively shut your business down.
Let's face it: Construction doesn't happen in a padded room free from all potential hazards. It happens in the real world, with very real hazards. Now, at its most simple (disregarding contracts, subcontractors and multi-employer worksites), the Code of Federal Regulations pertaining to employee health and safety clearly mandates the elimination of hazards.
But, as you know, not all hazards can be eliminated. Eliminating hazards might be the best way to protect workers, but doing so simply isn't possible. So must work stop? Do you scrap the project? Of course not. Fortunately, the OSHA regulations point the way toward a solution - one that allows the employer to maintain compliance and protects the employee from unreasonable danger and risk.
Every year, unexpected injuries and illnesses affect workplaces throughout Texas. Even with effective safety measures in place - which we at Kerr, Hendershot & Cannon, P.C. highly recommend - a serious incident can happen at any job site.
That's why it pays to be prepared.
OSHA's 29 CFR 1910 Subpart 1 deals with eye and face protection (see 1910.133) and head protection (see 1910.135).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encourages workers to speak up when they feel that safety is being compromised in a workplace, and OSHA comes down hard on employers who are accused of retaliating against workers who do come forward.
If a worker believes that he or she has been retaliated against, the worker can file a claim with OSHA, which will then begin an investigation. An OSHA investigation can be time-consuming, expensive and reputation damaging, which is why it's something that employers should try to avoid.
In order to avoid being accused of retaliating against a worker, it's important to understand what retaliation means.
Having a Plan (And Using It) Is Crucial to Employee Safety
You should have a narrowly tailored Employee Health and Safety Plan for your business. You should also have an understanding as to how to use the plan on an ongoing basis. These two items are crucial to maintaining employee safety. Training your employees and subcontractors how to work safely and meet the safety requirements of your Employee Health and Safety Plan - a plan that should include proper documentation of that training - should take high priority.
The premise of this article assumes that you already have an Employee Health and Safety Plan in place. If you do not, you may want to evaluate your need for such a plan to first protect your employees and second hedge your bets against an OSHA job-site inspection. Having a Health and Safety Plan that covers the operations of your business is not a guarantee that OSHA will not inspect your job-sites, but it is an invaluable tool in determining the outcome of an OSHA investigation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it needs to update regulations that are supposed to protect workers from hazardous substances, and it's asking employers and others with a stake in workplace safety for input.
A job safety analysis (JSA) is a technique that helps supervisors,employees and safety professionals identify job hazards before they occur. If jobs at your work site pose hazards or potential safety hazards, they can benefit from a JSA. Having a JSA can prevent or reduce the risk of serious accidents in jobs that feature hazards or potential safety hazards.
Creating a JSA is a three-step process. Anyone who is involved in implementing a job or task should be involved in its creation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the following process:
The risk of a workplace fire is not something anyone can take lightly. Despite this, fire safety training is often thrown in during orientation for new employees. Your workplace fire safety program should not be relegated to one item on a long list of paperwork and orientation meetings. By boosting your safety training, you can prevent it from getting lost in the shuffle.
As a recent article in Occupational Health & Safety magazine points out, effective fire safety training is especially important for new employees because they can often be more easily influenced. Once an employee has settled into a position, it may harder to create new safety habits.