Wednesday, December 31, 2008

OSHA Under Obama Administration

At 2009 begins and the new President Barack Obama takes his position as President, many people are wondering how his administration will effect OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). The answer is not a simple one. There are many factors including the economy and the pressing other administration issues that may take priority, however, I think one idea is clear.....change may be slow at first, but OSHA will eventually see a new vigour under the administration of President Barack Obama.

Here is an excerpt from an Obama campaign news release
"Improve Resources for Federal Workplace Safety Efforts: As president, Barack Obama will assure that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) — our long-neglected agencies charged with making workplaces healthy and safe — are led by people dedicated to their vital missions and have the staff and resources they need. He understands the necessity of breaking the political impasse between the White House and Congress that has starved those agencies of the resources they need to protect workers. Barack Obama will assure that OSHA and MSHA have state-of-the-art tools and strategies needed to safeguard workers facing a wide range of hazards: from mine tunnel collapses to crane accidents, and from exposures to dangerous chemicals to severe back strains. Obama will assure that those federal agencies—whose enforcement budgets have not changed in real terms in over a decade despite the growth in the number of workers exposed to workplace risks—finally receive the resources they need to improve health and safety conditions."

The clear idea behind this statement is that the previous Republican administration has not focused resources on workplace safety and the new administration has plans to refocus on workplace safety and OSHA.

No matter what changes the new President has in store for OSHA, it is always a good idea for employers to protect worker health. Employers that place an emphasis on worker safety consistently lower their cost of doing business through lower incidence of lost productivity and lower workers compensation insurance rates. Safety truly does pay....and in more than one way.

An effective safety program always begins with management and includes:
  • a thorough workplace hazard analysis
  • effective hazard elimination and hazard controls
  • effective employee safety training
  • continued analysis of the safety program

For more information about OSHA please visit this link for Free OSHA Information.

If you have any comments or questions about the new Presidential Administration or OSHA, please feel free to comment on this blog.

OSHA Violations & Inspections

As we move into the new year it might be a good time to discuss OSHA inspections, fines, and their most frequently cited violations.

The following were the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards in fiscal year 2008:

The following are the standards for which OSHA assessed the highest penalties in fiscal year 2008:

What’s the penalty for violating an OSHA standard?

OSHA penalties range from $0 to $70,000, depending upon how likely the violation is to result in serious harm to employees. Other-than-serious violations often carry no penalties but may result in penalties of up to $7,000. Serious violations may have penalties up to $7,000. Repeat and willful violations may have penalties as high as $70,000. Penalties may be discounted if an employer has a small number of employees, has demonstrated good faith, or has few or no previous violations.

Preparing for an OSHA Inspection.

There are four basic steps to preparing for an OSHA inspection:

  • 1. Be in Compliance
  • 2. Assign and train primary and backup individuals to oversee inspection with the OSHA Inspector.
  • 3. Train “first contact” personnel, such as Counter clerks; Receptionist; Secretary. Have a list of people for them to contact, in order of priority. Teach them to be courteous and professional. Tell them to speak very little, but make it clear they cannot lie or mislead an inspector.
  • 4. Have the assigned responsible primary or backup person:
    • Ask for credentials (if not offered)
    • Ask for specific reason and scope of the inspection
    • Request opening conference (if not offered)
    • Have a digital camera ready (to take photos of anything the inspector takes photos of)
    • Be familiar with company history (any previous inspections; the OSHA 300 log; workers comp. claims, etc., etc.).
    • Write down all suggestions and comments by inspector (make immediate corrections if possible).
    • Do not offer any information that is not requested!
    • Do not lie of mislead the inspector in any way!
    • Stay with the inspector at all times. Never leave them alone in your facility!

Remember the best way to avoid citations, penalties and fines, is to get into compliance and stay in compliance.

For more information about OSHA please obtain the free workbook and DVD program entitled "Introduction to OSHA."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Free OSHA Workbook

Many employers find the OSHA regulations difficult to understand and especially difficult to implement. National Safety Compliance has endeavoured to make OSHA compliance easier. NSC has produced a DVD and workbook program that will make understanding workplace safety an easier task.

This free program contains a DVD program that gives introductory information about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by speaking about when they were established, how they operate and how to comply. The program also contains a 70+ page workbook that is designed to give basic information and a checklist about the most common OSHA safety topics. The main goal of the workbook is to help employers determine which regulations are applicable to their workplace and then give them basic information and resources to meet those regulatory requirements.

The program is entitled, "Introduction to OSHA" and is available FREE from National Safety Compliance. NSC only asks that you pay for the cost of shipping. If you want to avoid the shipping charge, then the complete program may be downloaded FREE at the following link:

FREE Introduction to OSHA Program

For additional information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us toll-free at 1-877-922-7233.