As workforces begin to rebuild after a health hiatus, safety is likely to be a central concern. To that end, now more than ever it’s important that you understand what your obligations as an employer are under OSHA compliance checklist standards, and that you do everything in your power to meet them.
While following safety procedures can seem overwhelming to new business owners, in most cases, compliance is common sense. Below, our team shares a handful of tips to learn which will help protect you from legal action and protect your employees from serious injuries or death.
1. Share OSHA Guidelines With Employees
OSHA has a library of posters, documents, and training materials. There are also third-party safety instruction providers that circulate materials like these eBooks which keep employees up to date on how best to stay safe at work.
It’s important to share all of that guidance widely and often. You can do this by putting out informational posters and investing in training collateral that you make available to employees should they choose to review the information on their own time.
You can even offer incentives to employees that go above and beyond when it comes to embodying safety standards. Incentives could be pay raises, time off, or public recognition.
2. Ensure Information Is Language Sensitive
We’re living in an America that’s becoming increasingly diverse. While many immigrants that join your workforce speak functional levels of English, don’t assume that their proficiency is so good that they’ll be able to understand the intricacies of safety materials.
All safety instructions should be translated into the native language of each of your employees. Failure to do so could create a case where if a foreign native is injured, they could point towards not understanding their responsibilities due to you not making an effort to accommodate their language barriers.
3. Have a Label System in Place to Flag Hazards
When you go through an OSHA compliance checklist, one of the key standards you’ll find is that labeling dangerous elements/areas is important. For example, heavy boxes should be labeled as “Team Lift”. Hazardous chemicals should be notated as such.
Find out more about labeling around your workplace and make it a point to get everything properly marked as soon as possible.
4. Know Your Injury Workflow
OSHA standards demand that you have a workflow in place for when an employee gets injured. So, if someone on your team were to get injured tomorrow, would you know exactly what to do?
If you don’t, make getting organized a priority. Be prepared to call an ambulance, have first medical responders on-site, take accident reports, and do whatever else may be required of you.
Skipping a beat when an injury takes place could cost you if your injured employee sues.
5. Give PPE to Your Employees
PPE or personal protective equipment is the responsibility of an employer to provide. This equipment should be provided at no cost to employees.
PPE will vary depending on the job that you’re offering. For example, if you run a construction site, PPE might be a hard hat, gloves, and a reflective vest. If you run a chemical plant, it might be a mask and gloves.
6. Share Accident Reports and Violations
Transparency is a major piece of the workplace safety puzzle. That’s why you must make clear to employees when someone has been injured or when your workplace’s safety standards have fallen short of OSHA’s requirements.
This can be done by posting information in a break room or other location that cites recent accidents and shares OSHA citations your company has received. You’ll also want to provide information on how your safety team has or plans to rectify citations.
7. Notify OSHA When Adversity Strikes
Calling an ambulance when somebody gets injured doesn’t satisfy your full responsibility under OSHA compliance checklist standards. You’ll also need to notify OSHA.
You can call OSHA directly to notify them of accidents and should do so within 24-hours of a fatality, amputation, or death. Accidents like minor cuts and bruises shouldn’t require an OSHA flag. As a rule of thumb, if an employee needs to go to a hospital, OSHA should be kept in the loop.
8. Never Retaliate Against Employees Fighting for Their Rights
It can be a troubling situation for a business owner when a vocal employee starts demanding accommodations. When this happens, consult with a business attorney and understand what your obligations are under the law.
If your employee is demanding something that they’re entitled to, provide it, and thank them for bringing the lapse to your attention. If what’s being requested is not required, consider if the accommodation feels reasonable. If it does, you may be better off accommodating than fighting which will lessen productivity and may end up costing you money in court.
Armed With an OSHA Compliance Checklist, Your Business Can Operate Safely
Doing something as simple as compiling an OSHA compliance checklist and following its guidance could save your employee’s lives. That benefit is more than worth the effort required to step up your safety so start committing to providing a better workplace today!
And remember, when in doubt, talk to an HR professional or business attorney. They can provide professional guidance on what your safety obligations are in the state you operate in.
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