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OSHA Lines Up: Time to Tackle Safety

By Christine Torres

Workers hold safety days sign

Team OSHA is ready to up its inspection game. Starting with electronic injury rate data from 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to inspect companies with high injury rates. OSHA will also investigate those who failed to report their 300A information. This inspection directive targets establishments in all industry sectors except for construction. However, according to the federal court of appeals, OSHA must also have probable cause: “… an employer should carefully consider its options to appropriately limit the scope of the inspection,” the court advised in its report.

Be Ready to Act

Currently, all employers, including those with state-run safety and health programs, are to comply with OSHA’s 300A e-filing rules. Those who are required to submit Form 300A data for each prior calendar year must do so electronically by March 2nd the following year. These include:

  • Establishments with 250 or more employees that are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records
  • Establishments with 20-249 employees in designated high-hazard industries

With OSHA possibly looking over more shoulders, employers who are filing 300A forms should take this time to re-evaluate safety in their facilities. Here are a few tips employers can use to improve their safety strategy through simple communication:

  • Huddle up: Encourage employees to report any work-related illnesses or injuries. Workers are more likely to speak up when their employers encourage them to do so. Offer a comfortable, non-threatening way to share ideas or concerns. Do not reward employees for not reporting injuries as this promotes a dishonest working environment.
  • Evaluate: Perform a full evaluation of equipment, processes, procedures, and environment (indoors and outside). Need help? Start with a job hazard analysis.
  • Set a game plan: It’s easy to overwhelm the workload. Create a simple facility checklist and tackle issues one by one based on their priority.
  • Line up the offense: Were any changes made to safety procedures after new equipment was installed? Are there any new chemicals in the facility? Was the eyewash station moved? Communicate any changes thoroughly with staff and reinforce with safety signage and labeling.
  • Train: Ensure compliance and that procedures are being followed correctly by providing ongoing training for leaders, managers, and support staff. To support training and ongoing safety talks, utilize free guides, infographics, and other resources.

Fumble-Proof Goals

Lockout/tagout sign and tag on machine

For businesses with 250 workers or fewer, OSHA offers an on-site consultation program. This free program provides safety and health advice on complying with standards. Whether a business is in need of establishing or improving a safety and health program, there are numerous compliance resources to help. Compliance not only helps improve worker safety it also provides a foundation for effective efficiency. 

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