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OSHA fines

  • Who's Keeping Score

    OSHA is the score keeper, and requires that most employers keep a “Log”. If you are a small business with ten (10) or fewer employees then you would be exempt from most of the requirements of the rule. Other exceptions would include a number of specific industries in, retail, service, finance, insurance, and real estate, which are classified as low hazard. You will want to check with your local OSHA office to confirm your exemption, which is determined by your company SIC code. For more information visit http://osha.gov/recordkeeping/ppt1/RK1exempttable.html If you don’t fall into one of these exceptions, and most of you don’t, then you are required to keep a “300 Log”.

    OSHA provides /requires, three record keeping forms: Form 300: Log of work related injuries and illnesses Form 301: Illness and injury incident report (this report includes more data about how the illness or injury occurred. Form 300A: Summary of Work related Injuries and illnesses. This is the most recent form making it easier to post and calculate incident rates.

    If you are inspected by OSHA, and are required to keep a 300 Log, you will need to be able to produce a copy during the inspection, or within 4 hours of their request for your log. You may keep your log electronically. And while you’re at it make sure you have OSHA Poster #2203 posted where your employees can readily review it. The required poster covers employee rights and protections under OSHA guidelines.

    Keeping your log can be a challenge, and you’ll need to understand the terms and definitions set forth by OSHA including the gray areas like “pre existing conditions”. Other questions? What is a recordable injury?, what doesn’t have to be recorded?, If I do have a recordable injury, will I also be required to have a written safety plan for “Light Duty Return to Work” and what about ADA , mental illness, and confidentiality?

    So let’s answer at least the elephant in the room; What is a Recordable Injury?

    *Results in death *Results in Days away from work *Restricts their ability to work or requires “transfer to a new job” *Medical treatment beyond 1st Aid *Loss of consciousness *Significant injury or illness diagnosed by a healthcare professional and determined to be work related *Mental Illness (if stated by a healthcare professional that it is work related) *ALL injuries from needles or sharps that are contaminated by another’s blood or infectious material *Work related cases of Tuberculosis *Cases where a worker is removed from work under the provisions of an OSHA standard (ie. Lead or asbestos exposure) *Some injuries incurred while an employee was traveling for work or working from home.

    We’ll cover more records information in our next article. If in the meantime you need additional information on recordable injuries and the subsequent OSHA standards, please visit: http://osha.gov/recordkeeping/entryfaq.html , or you can call us here in the office 866-598-2128 at www.Safetyinstruction.com .

    One Last thing, too late for this year. You must post the Summary only form 300A (not the Log) by February 1 of the year following the year covered by the form and keep it posted until April 30 of that year. The posting should be accessible to employees, preferably in the same area as the 2203 poster.

  • What Were they Thinking? Repeat Safety Violations

    An OSHA inspection and audit can be a daunting, anxiety laden experience. Should it be? Not really, Employers should be working with managers and employees to Identify and eliminate hazards within the confines of their business at the outset.

    I believe that every employer has a basic knowledge of the hazards in their respective industries. Whether its construction, manufacturing, food service, laboratory, municipal, utilities, farming, they are all aware of the potential hazards. It can be, Confined space entry, Combustible dust, electrical, fall protection, asbestos or lead safety awareness, machine guarding, lab safety, Personal protective equipment, as simple as hearing protection, the list is almost endless. To ignore them is just plain negligent. To ignore them after an OSHA inspection can be very expensive and perhaps even criminal.

    So what were they thinking? A REPEAT VIOLATION? Most recently a company in Concord NH was handed citations for “Willfull, Repeat, and Serious violations, of workplace standards”. Really? The proposed penalties for that is $143.000, The proposed fine in total for the other violations? $221,100.00. The sad part? This is not an isolated incident. If you visit OSHA’s website you will find their news releases outlining the infractions and related penalties.

    So how can all of this be avoided? There are several solutions:

    *Set up your own Safety committee, your employees are your most valuable asset. *Review your written safety policies and plans *Train your supervisors in Job Hazard analysis” *Do a site safety audit to identify potential hazards, and develop an action plan *Hire a safety consultant on a retainer if you can’t afford a full time trainer. This consultant can help you with your written plans, audit your facility, train the trainers, and employees, and outline an action plan. for far less than the cost of an OSHA citation

    Follow these simple steps and you are on your way to reducing your overall exposure to OSHA citations, creating and fostering good employer/ employee relations, and raising overall safety awareness.

    If you are interested in any of the safety services mentioned above visit www.safetyinstruction.com

  • Fireworks Company Blasted for 31 Safety Violations

    There are just some jobs which put their workers at risk. Sometimes, this is part of the job and is inevitable. Most of the time, though, a lot of workplace incidents and mishaps can be avoided if only the right safety guidelines and inspections push through regularly. This has been the case for Global Pyrotechnic Solutions, a company cited by the OSHA for having committed 31 different safety violations. Records show that the company already has had previous employees sent to hospitals due to burn injuries and other disabilities. Learn more about the violations, the fines, and the future awaiting this company here.

  • A “Fine” Line

    One cannot be prepared enough at all times - but not preparing at all is a different story. Parkland Memorial Hospital, in Dallas, has recently been fined a whopping $1 million for its shortcomings with occupational safety requirements - which have the tendency of putting not only patients, but health care and other workers as well, at risk. From understaffed nursing services to inadequate infection control measures, the hospital has been fined with the highest amount in the state’s history. Read more about this story by the Courthouse News Services here.

  • Avoiding Avoidable Deaths

    Workplace safety is an international issue. Without question, having safety checks on a regular basis and adhering to the guidelines set by the respective authorities will bring down the number of avoidable workplace deaths, if not totally eliminate them. In the UK, some companies still fail to follow strict compliance to the Health and Safety at Work Act, resulting in tragic incidents. One recent death was witnessed by a Bradford company after losing one of its veteran employees who has served the firm for more than nine years. Read what the company was fined for in the full scoop here.

  • Safety Violations by a University?

    In July, the University of Texas paid a penalty of nearly $30,000 because of serious safety violations. Two lives ended when they fell more than 150 feet to the ground. Mede Nix of DallasNews.com wrote a news story regarding this tragic event: “OSHA Proposes Hefty Fine for Safety Violations in university of Texas at Dallas Crane Collapse.”

  • Outrageous Fines or Outrageous Negligence?

    The Times Reporter calls it outrageous, but the fines required from rule breakers are just right to teach them a good lesson. It seems that the staff (who wrote the opinion piece) lacks the information as to why OSHA has been existing in the first place. If it’s all about consumers catching the cost of company penalties, then they haven’t realized yet the impact of neglecting workplace safety to both employees and consumers themselves. What’s your view on this? Take a look at the article: “30 Seconds: Dover Chemical Fines Are Outrageous.”

  • A Tragic Death due to a Lack of Workplace Safety

    Gilles Lévesques could have escaped his recent death, if not for the negligence on the part of his employers. Just imagine how devastated his family was when they learned of his passing, especially when they found that he was buried alive! Would $62,000 worth of fines be enough to pay for his death? Read more about this tragedy here: Lachine Pipe-Fixing Death was Avoidable, Safety Board Says.

  • Worker’s Death is a Company’s Debt

    When you consider the safety of your employees as an overhead cost rather than an investment, you tend to give little value to it. What exactly is going to happen if you don’t ensure that the lives of your workers are not at stake while they are on the job? Learn from the companies that are now facing fines over the death of a worker. Fifteen thousand dollars may not even be enough of a sanction. Read the full report here.

  • Does Your Company Really Need Safety Training?

    There are some companies that do not know the value of proper safety training. Some companies believe that a simple note, reminder, or briefing is enough safety training for their employees.

    According to Charles R. Haines, training your staff and employees with a proper safety program will be beneficial for your company in the long run. While any kind of training will need investment and will not come cheap; nevertheless, it will be for the best interest of the company to have their employees trained. As Haines explains in his article, “Why Have a Safety Program?,” a trained employee will less likely encounter accidents, which can cause damage to property, to his fellow employees, and to the customers. Even a single accident incurred to a customer can lead to numerous problems like lawsuits. Another reason for having a training program is because it is an obligation of the employer to provide a safe workplace. Giving training, as Haines says, also boosts the morale of the employees as they know that their company is concerned about their welfare. Because of the higher morale, employees will function and work better.

    There are some places where safety training is a basic need for every employee or worker. As Jim Emmons explains in “Why Construction Safety is Important,” every construction company needs to give their workers a proper safety training. There is just too much risk in construction sites that can lead to mishaps if the workers are not trained properly.

    Failure to train the employees may lead to serious trouble for everyone. Steve Hughes writes about an example of what can happen to companies that do not have proper safety precautions in place. Delorio Foods was fined $55,000 because of the alleged unsafe working conditions of the workers in the factory. In the article, “DeIorio Foods facing almost $55,000 in fines,” numerous safety faults were mentioned, including blocking of the exit and absence of various safety checks for a food processing plant.

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