Keys to Avoiding OSHA Citations and Liabilities

HR Resource
September 10, 2013 — 1,947 views  
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OSHA is designed to maintain workplace safety standards. Companies diverse in size, variety, and working environments have one thing in common. They present nearly the same safety and health hazards and so they need nearly same solutions. They must do their homework well to meet the challenges of compliance and inspection.

Introducing a Systematic Safety Approach

A systematic safety approach is not as easy as it might appear. A safe workplace is the one that keeps clear of safety hazards. So, efforts must be made to achieve the goal of system safety. Safety needs must be anticipated, planned, and put into action in advance. Often, a false sense of security can be extremely dangerous. Just because the work place has been free of accidents in the past does not mean it will remain so in the future. Mistaken assumptions on safety hazards and health hazards can often lull into complacency.

In view of the above, safety must be built into the day to day culture of the organization, which must be systematically planned and executed. Introduction of a systematic safety approach is the guarantee against future mishaps. Yet, even with the best approach there cannot be a 100 percent guarantee. However, the employer who introduces a systematic safety approach would be able to address safety related issues under emergency conditions far more effectively than the one who avoids systematic safety approach.    

Regular Safety Meetings

OSHA citations can be avoided best by taking safety issues seriously. For effective regular safety meetings to take place, safety approach and documentation must be adhered to in keeping with compliance regulations. Very often, regular safety meetings do not take place in organizations. The frequency of safety meetings in most workplaces vary from none at all to not with any identifiable regularity.

However, the best strategy against safety hazards and health hazards is to hold well documented and regular safety meetings. In other words, if workers, supervisors, and managers are asked how frequently safety meetings are held in their workplace, they should be able to answer it exactly.

With safety meetings held at a regular time, it is quite possible to defuse potentially critical enforcement situations. Some of the strategies involved in regular safety meetings include special reviews, mass meetings, safety meetings, and tool box talks at regular intervals so that positive tone is put forward during safety inspections.

Respond Quickly to Recommendations from Safety Audits

OSHA compliance will come easy with health and safety audits. Health and safety audits may well have laudable motives, but they need to be handled appropriately, otherwise disastrous consequences can follow. The benefit as well as the problem with these audits is the same, that is, identification of safety hazards and health hazards. The auditor looks for deficiencies in context of safety and health.

Whether or not you trust the auditors and whether or not the problems and issues are identified, what is important is that these identified deficiencies are red flags, so they need to be addressed in all seriousness. The inspectors have to determine whether or not the deficiencies have been addressed, and if they determine that the hazards have not been corrected, it might raise the risk of willful violation causing problem to the employer. Not just the safety audit but a systematic safety approach with well laid down procedure is the key to avoid OSHA citation.

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