A Business Guide to 2023 OSHA Compliance
Each year, there are about 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and accidents in the U.S. Falls, trips, slips, and overexertion are the most common causes.
Keeping your employees safe can be a challenge. Not only that but there are so many OSHA compliance rules to follow.
While remembering it might seem overwhelming, it could keep your employees safe. Read this guide to better understand OSHA compliance and how it can keep your company safe today.
Research What Applies to You
First, research to understand which rules and regulations apply to your company. OSHA training might be on the list to help you learn what applies.
For example, if you keep hazardous chemicals, you'll need to label, store, and contain them in a certain way. Work surfaces and floors need to be clear at all times to avoid tripping.
Give your team the proper equipment to stay safe. OSHA for businesses can vary from company to company.
There are certain general industry standards employers must follow. Fire safety is at the top.
All employers should have a plan for fire prevention. Next, you'll want to have first aid and medical available.
All exit routes need to be available and never obstructed. GHS labels are a requirement for all hazardous items.
Have an emergency action plan in place. This includes fire and other emergencies.
Hire a Safety Officer
Consider hiring a safety officer to help follow OSHA policy. They'll need time to research changes in OSHA rules, record any injuries, and create safety plans.
Have them subscribe to the Federal Register to stay up-to-date. The right safety officer will alert you about any safety concerns or changes.
Safety officers will perform regular inspections to ensure you're up-to-date. You could also have them take OSHA courses to stay current.
Compliance Assistance Specialists
OSHA has compliance assistance specialists in their regional and area offices. They could include other employers, small businesses, professional associations, etc.
These specialists help implement and promote OSHA's various programs. These programs include the Alliance, Strategic Partnership, and Voluntary Protection programs.
Others you can contact include:
- Regional Labor Liaisons
- On-site consultation programs
- Regional Diverse Workforce
- Limited English Proficiency Coordinators
- Area offices
- Regional offices
Identify OSHA hazards at your company. Once identified, determine how you can remain compliant and fix them.
Don't delay in fixing any hazards. Conduct a job hazard analysis to identify areas you'll need to improve. Even if you don't have an in-house safety director, professional consultations and resources are available to research.
Continual Employee Training
Have training available for new and current employees. Train them on the procedures that need to be implemented.
Safety and health practices need to be regularly updated. Hold trainings multiple times per year to ensure your employees are current.
For each role, they need to be fully briefed before beginning. OSHA requires all employers to have regular training sessions for advancements and changes in equipment or processes.
Have Safety Policies
All employees need to be on the same page regarding safety policies. They need to be able to familiarize themselves with these.
Once written, they must be available for all employees and handed to new ones. Use online sources to create safety policies. This allows your company to remain compliant and show effective procedures.
Perform surveys of the workplace to identify additional hazards. OSHA has a small business handbook with a self-inspection checklist to follow. You could also use the Hazard Identification Training Tools or other online options.
Next, identify OSHA requirements that might apply to your specific industry. Consider if employees will come into contact with heavy machinery, chemicals, etc. For example, if they're using heavy machinery, you need the proper equipment to protect their ears.
What About Remote Offices?
Even if you're a remote company, OSHA has guidelines for home-based offices and work sites.
You aren't responsible for working conditions at an employee's home. Even if the employee places an official complaint, there won't be a follow-up. The employer must keep a record of illnesses or work-related injuries while they're on the job.
Compliance for Warehouses
Warehouses expose employees to cargo, hazards, heavy equipment, and more. You'll still need to abide by the general industry standards from OSHA.
For warehouses, you'll need to think about the following:
- Electrical wiring
- Respiratory protection
- Mechanical power transmission
- Electrical system designs
- Portable fire extinguishers
For mills, plants, and factories that chemically or mechanically use substances or other materials, you'll also have to abide by your own rules.
Some things to consider include:
- Confined spaces
- Airborne contaminants
- Occupational noise exposure
What Happens if I Don’t Abide With OSHA Compliance?
If you don't follow OSHA requirements, you're liable for prosecution. This also puts your company at risk as far as legalities.
Failure to comply could lead to your organization losing money, an employee suffering harm, or death. For events deemed preventable, it's seen as an OSHA violation.
An inspector will determine the severity of the violation. A standard fine can run thousands of dollars. If the penalty isn't corrected, it could be applied daily until you address it.
How To Stay OSHA Compliance
After exploring this guide on OSHA compliance, you should better understand where to begin. Take your time researching to decide what you'll need to stay compliant in your industry.
Are you bogged down trying to learn OSHA compliance and wish there was an easier way to learn everything? We can help! We have been offering compliance training since 2008.
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