Don’t Get Casual About Workplace Safety

 In Small Business Legal Help
Workplace Safety OSHA

Workplace Safety Obligations

Why should I care about workplace safety?  Not only is it assumed by your workforce, not only is it common sense, but remember the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) mandate that a place of employment must be made safe, and kept safe for employees. Of course, to define “safe” the act has plenty of safety and health regulations to ensure most of the bases are covered.  So if you are an employer with more than 10 employees, let’s cover a few of the basics to make sure you have your bases covered about workplace safety.

Employers Must Comply with OSHA Standards

As an employer, it is generally good practice to comply with OSHA standards because it is the law, but there is more to it than that. Following workplace safety standards, and documenting your efforts covers your (ever looming potential) liability as well. Of course these standards are designed to (first and foremost) protect your employees also, but should an employee venture outside of workplace safety and health guidelines (for whatever reason), and hurt themselves; a 100% compliant employer will be able to adequately protect the safety of the company from frivolous litigation that could follow poor decision-making.

Many OSHA Regulations are Industry Specific

Luckily for employers, recording keeping, training, and posting practices are outlined by OSHA regulations so a lot of the legwork as far as what to do is taken out of the equation. Many of these regulations are industry specific too, so all that really needs to be done is following guidelines. When all is said and done it comes down to a few things that can keep everything on track for ensuring workplace safety, and an employer covering all their bases:

  • Comply with workplace safety posting standards. This includes when to update postings, and where to post.
  • Establish an injury an illness record keeping procedure. People get hurt and people get sick. Make sure they know exactly what to do in either case, and make it clear where responsibilities lie.
  • Related but worth noting on it’s own, once a record keeping procedure for illness and injury is established. Stick to it! Make sure you keep all health and illness records up-to-date.
  • Provide proper safety equipment. Safety standards include proper equipment as well as a safe environment. Maintaining proper equipment as well as training on how to use it should be performed regularly.
  • Should any workplace hazards arise, communicate the conditions to employees promptly, and document everything (communications, actions taken to repair or clean up the hazard, and parties involved).

Documentation Will Help Keep You Compliant

Have you noticed a common theme here? Documenting ALL actions taken and communications made can cover you as an employer for all sorts of potential liability. At the very least documenting and staying up to date on your compliance is the best way to be prepared for OSHA inspections.

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