Mock OSHA Facility Inspections Save Worker Lives & Millions in Lost Profit
When an explosion occurred in a plant in Corrigan, Texas, severely burning a man, it took four years for the courts to make their decision. When they did, the verdict was staggering. The court awarded the plaintiff $39.7 million for pain and suffering.
It was April 26, 2014 when Ralph Figgs’ life changed forever. He was working at a Georgia-Pacific plant when a dust collection system failed, causing the explosion that permanently injured Figgs, killed two of his fellow workers, and injured several others.
In all, three companies were held at fault. Along with Georgia-Pacific, a company called Aircon Inc., which designed and installed the dust collection unit, as well as GreCon Inc., the company that manufactures the spark suppression system, were held liable for the accident.
Just some of the issues that arose during the trial were failure to perform proper safety inspections as well as employees not being properly trained in emergency procedures concerning the dust collection system.
Why Companies Need to Prioritize Proactive “Mock” OSHA Inspections
Facility safety inspections are a vital component in preventing workplace injury, illness and even death.
Thorough inspections by qualified safety personnel help identify potential hazards before an accident occurs and corrective action can become the difference between life and death. By heading off problems before they arise, not only does it create a safer work environment for employees, but it also can save the company from financial ruin.
Our qualified inspectors know what to look for and where something is most likely to develop into unsafe or unhealthy conditions because of stress, wear, impact, vibration, heat, corrosion, chemical reaction, ventilation or misuse.
In addition to work areas, locker rooms, rest areas, storage rooms, and parking lots are included during the inspection as these are places where workers have a tendency to let their guard down, sometimes resulting in debilitating slip-and-fall scenarios, among other accidents.
It is also important to not only inspect the equipment, but also to observe how the worker interacts with the equipment during the workday.
A good safety inspection doesn’t necessarily mean a stop in production as many times the inspector will observe a normal work day. Often the inspector will share concerns and questions with workers who use the equipment every day, creating a collaboration to arrive at the best course of action.
Set up a Mock OSHA Inspection with Certified Safety Professionals
For companies that are subjected to periodic OSHA inspections that can result in hefty fines when something isn’t up to code, having a pre-inspection done by us can also be an invaluable tool.
Failure to conduct forklift inspections, fire extinguisher inspections, having tripping hazards (slips/trips/falls), poor housekeeping, missing protective guards, blocked emergency exits and more can add up to large violations.
But by listening to the concerns of supervisors and employees, learning more about job tasks and goals, identifying potential problems and putting a plan in place to address the continued safety of employees, the long-term health and success of a company can be ensured.
What Does OSHA Require From Employers?
If you have ever visited OSHA’s website, you know there is so much information posted regarding the different safety and health requirements employers must follow in order to keep their employees safe on the job. We are going to breakdown the key rules and regulations starting with the top 3 basic duties for employers.
Three Key Elements:
- Compliance with OSHA laws.
- Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards.
- Examine workplace conditions to ensure compliance.
The foundation of a successful safety program is compliance with OSHA laws. Part of the LSCI approach is to stress the importance of creating a good safety culture at your workplace.
Why Comply With OSHA’s Regulations?
- Ethical: Employers should feel a moral obligation to keep their employees safe on the job. “We don’t want anyone to get hurt, do we?”
- Legal: The obvious reason for employers to comply with OSHA regulations is because it’s the law. “We want to comply with the law, don’t we?”
- Business: It costs less to be pro-active vs. reactive. “We want to minimize expenses and maximize profits, right?”
If you’re a safety professional trying to convince upper management of the benefits of investing in a safety program, check out our Business Case for Safety e-book or call one of our consultants at 888-403-6026.
OSHA’s General Duty Clause
Every employer should be familiar with OSHA’s General Duty Clause because it really is all encompassing. OSHA can issue a citation for any safety hazard under the General Duty Clause even if it is not specifically spelled out somewhere else in the regulations. It requires employers to protect employees from any safety hazard they may encounter, including those that aren’t specifically listed in OSHA’s regulations.
(a) Each employer —
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
(2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
(b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.
Comply with OSHA’s standards.
Post the free OSHA workplace poster and encourage employees to read it.
Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards.
Conduct hazard assessments.
Maintain up to date written safety and health programs including procedures.
Employers must provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
Provide access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS) when employees use hazardous chemicals.
Train employees on what chemicals they are exposed to.
Use and maintain safe tools and equipment.
Provide warnings of potential hazards including signs.
Report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours to OSHA.
Employers with more than 10 employees must keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
Post the recordkeeping 300A form from February 1 to April 30 each year in a prominent location at your workplace.
Submit electronic injury and illness records if your workplace is required.
Provide access to employee medical records and exposure records to employees or their authorized representatives.
Do not discriminate against employees who exercise their rights under the Act. See OSHA’s “Whistleblower Protection” webpage.
Post OSHA citations at or near the work area involved. Each citation must remain posted until the violation has been corrected, or for three working days, whichever is longer. Post abatement verification documents or tags.
Correct cited violations by the deadline set in the OSHA citation and submit required abatement verification documentation.
A successful safety program needs to be nurtured.
Top 10 Reasons to Partner With an Award Winning OSHA Consulting Firm
OSHA compliance does not need to be confusing or take up every moment of your day. The advantages of having a third party safety consulting company by your side include:
- Professional consultants with various certifications and qualifications that know OSHA’s rules and regulations.
- Have a hazard assessment conducted without having any citations issued.
- Get a safety and health training delivered on just the topics you need.
- It is cheaper than hiring a full time safety person or can provide assistance to an overloaded safety manager.
- Shows your employees that you truly care about their safety and well-being which will boost morale!
- Gives you the peace of mind knowing you have experienced support available and shows OSHA that you are operating in good faith.
- Issues safety and health news alerts and OSHA regulation changes.
- Helps create a safer workplace for your employees and builds a safety culture.
- Will help to prevents or reduce accidents, injuries and potential OSHA citations.
- OSHA can offer employers a “good faith” discount for hiring a safety company.
First, strive to meet OSHA’s requirements. Then, work to maintain them. Next, go beyond the safety standards!