The OSHA exists to keep employees safe. While many businesses want to provide the best products possible with excellent care, others may try to cut corners and put others at risk. However, businesses can implement precautions in order to prevent OSHA violations from occurring.
What is OSHA?
OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency focuses on keeping work conditions safe for employees. This can include a variety of points, but it all comes down to ensuring that employees work in a safe environment.
OSHA covers most private-sector employers and their workers, as well as some public sector employers and workers. Self-employed workers are not covered by OSHA, which means they are not regulated by OSHA standards.
In short, the OSHA was established as a way to make health and safety top priorities for all businesses. If a company doesn't follow the procedures, standards, and regulations established by the OSHA, they could face serious penalties.
How Do I Recognize a Violation?
There are several situations where employees are faced with work conditions that put their health and safety at risk. This can include faulty equipment, hazardous materials in the workplace, unfair business requirements, and businesses that don't clean on a regular basis.
According to OSHA, the most frequently cited violations following OSHA inspections were:
Fall protection, construction
Hazard communication standard, general industry
Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
Respiratory protection, general industry
Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry
Powered industrial trucks, general industry
Fall Protection–Training Requirements Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements
Eye and Face Protection
If you notice anything that seems to put employees in danger, it's time to take action to ensure safety precautions are implemented.
How Can Businesses Avoid OSHA Violations?
Most employers try to create a safe and healthy workplace environment. Receiving a violation from OSHA is not in the best interest of the company. From expensive fines to bad press, OSHA violations are not good for business. This is why it’s important for employers to implement safety standards to ensure OSHA violations do not occur.
Ways employers can prevent OSHA violations include:
Establishing a Prevention Plan
Identifying and eliminating potential hazards
Implementing a hazard training program
Educating Workers About Dangerous Situations
Encouraging Workers to Speak Up About Safety Hazards and Concerns
Building and Maintaining Safe Scaffolding
Providing the Correct Protective Equipment
Providing Respiratory Protection
Implementing and Teaching Safe Electrical Practices
Educating and Training Forklift Drivers
Practicing Ladder Safety
Controlling Hazardous Energy
Practicing Proper Machine Guarding
What If I Notice an OSHA Violation at My Work?
If you notice that your employer is not following OSHA protocols, first reach out to management, and inform them about your safety concerns. They might not realize there is an issue, and this will allow them the chance to fix the problem.
As an employer, remember that your employees are allowed to work safely without putting themselves in danger or risking their lives. It is your duty to minimize the risk of an employee getting injured. If you need assistance with drafting and implementing a sound compliance plan, preparing for an inspection, or defend against citations, our OSHA defense lawyers have the experience to address your unique case. At Hendershot Cowart P.C., we work closely with compliance officers, safety and health professionals, human resource personnel, and others to ensure your business is compliant with OSHA standards.
COVID-19 Update: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, OSHA has placed greater emphasis on enforcing employers’ obligations to protect workers from exposure to the virus. Though regulations are evolving, OSHA has committed itself to increasing inspections of worksites, and enforcing standards that require employers to report confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Per OSHA, all employers must also take reasonable measures to determine whether any case of COVID-19 case involving an employee is work-related.
As part of a sound compliance program, employers must take COVID-19 considerations and other developments into account as they work to mitigate their exposure to enforcement actions, violations, and considerable penalties. Our experienced OSHA law team at Hendershot Cowart P.C. is available to help.
Have concerns about being reported for an OSHA violation? Contact Hendershot Cowart P.C. for advice from our OSHA defense lawyer today at (713) 489-2028.