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Safety Within the Workplace: Why Was My Business Fined by OSHA ?

This is a question often asked AFTER a business receives an OSHA citation.

Behind almost every citation is a safety program that overlooks one or more OSHA safety regulations that should be in place – that's why businesses get fined!

If you're reading this article, your business has likely been fined and you want to prevent future OSHA safety issues and close the safety gap.

Safety inspector in a manufacturing facility

Understanding the safety gap

The safety gap is the 20-30% often missing safety components discovered by OSHA during a safety audit. Even with a dedicated safety manager running a company-wide safety program — complete with new-hire safety trainings and proper record-keeping — critical OSHA regulations are missed when safety personnel lack time and are not safety certified annually.

Workplace Safety

Every business knows that workplace safety is paramount to keeping the business flowing smoothly. Business owners also know (and more than a few have found out the hard way) passing OSHA inspections is critical to protecting the business from lawsuits and workers comp claims and keep the business fully staffed and its HR department running smoothly. Meeting 100% OSHA compliance may seem near impossible due to the minute components of the law. Passing OSHA inspections requires complying with all OSHA rules and requirements. Meeting only a portion of the regulations won't cut it. Without a job safety management team capable of closing that gap your business could be subject to massive fines and, even, work stoppages while you take required actions to meet OSHA compliance requirements.

OSHA can conduct inspections randomly or when triggered by a particular situation of trigger, such as:

  • Complaint

  • Imminent danger situation

  • Catastrophe or fatality

  • Hazardous information referral

  • Planned or programmed inspection

  • Follow-up

The only way to ensure you meet OSHA’s requirements and pass OSHA inspections when your workplace is suddenly inspected, for whatever the reason, is to have your safety manager and their team completely certified and work with a safety consulting company like D&D Safety.

The Difference Between a Certified and Uncertified Safety Manager

A certified safety manager is certified by OSHA. In order to receive OSHA certification as a safety professional, you must learn OSHA safety procedures and regulations and pass a test demonstrating your proficiency in these subjects, including those oft-missed 20-30% of OSHA safety components such as (but not limited to) the following:

  • Internal safety communications protocols

  • How to conduct weekly and monthly safety meetings

  • How to conduct new-hire employee safety trainings

  • How to view your workplace through OSHA "lenses"

Through annual testing, your safety manager and team will also be required to show that they keep up with all OSHA and relevant state-related changes and updates to safety rules and requirements. These, too, often fall under the category of the frequently-overlooked 20-30% of safety requirements to pass OSHA inspections.

An uncertified safety manager can still take accountability for your workplace's safety program, but may very well miss certain required safety components and, in so doing, expose your company to the risk of fines and lawsuits.


Example: New-hire employee trained on fall protection

Imagine a month after training that new employee having a fall from a ladder and getting severely injured. If it was a certified safety manager running that fall-protection training, the employee would unlikely be able to sue your business, and OSHA would unlikely fine you. If, however, that training was run by an uncertified safety manager, you don't have those same protections.

With a certified safety director, your company is presumed to have a robust safety training program, and it would be incumbent on the worker to show that he or she was not at fault for the injury if he or she wanted to file an OSHA claim. Your company can justifiably defend itself from a potential lawsuit or fine by claiming "unpreventable employee misconduct," or that the worker simply didn't pay attention or obey the rules.

With a certified safety manager and team, you have complete records to protect you proving that proper procedures were followed, accidents reported and trainings signed off on by employees. With an uncertified safety manager, your company can be presumed to be at fault for failing to give your new-hire workers the proper OSHA training for safety within the workplace.

In addition to these direct costs of failing to meet OSHA requirements, there can be a bevy of associated indirect costs as well. Consider the same workplace injury just cited. In addition to outright fines and penalties, your business also experiences time lost in its vital workflow due to forced work stoppages and incident investigations, possible property damage and loss as well as additional costs incurred to replace and train hurt workers. OSHA estimates that these indirect costs can actually amount to 2.7 times more or greater than the direct ones.


Recommendations to stop OSHA fines

A robust safety program that implements 100% OSHA safety regulations is necessary to avoid future safety fines. To get to 100% safety, we recommend that your business work with a safety consulting company like D&D Safety to work hand-in-hand with your time-constrained safety director and personnel.

D&D Safety is positioned to assist with your company's safety program to close the 20-30% gap! Contact us now for a free consultation – 216-352-1900.


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