InTents June/July 2022 - 42

business | safety
The lighter side of OSHA
Inviting OSHA into your business can be your best option-seriously!
By Jason Bader
W
OSHA's On-Site
Consultation Program
This program offers no-cost and
confi dential occupational safety and
health services to small- and mediumsized
businesses in all 50 states, the
District of Columbia, and several U.S.
territories. On-Site Consultation services
are separate from enforcement and
do not result in penalties or citations.
Consultants from state agencies or
universities work with employers to
identify workplace hazards, provide
advice for compliance with OSHA
standards, and assist in establishing and
improving safety and health programs.
hen most of us hear the word
" OSHA, " we instantly conjure up
images of ticket-writing cops invading
our workplace. And these aren't the $35
tags that grace our windshield when we
linger in a parking spot too long. These
citations can easily hit the four- or ivedigit
mark depending on the severity of
the violation. Let's face it, a visit from
the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration often ranks up there
with a visit from the Internal Revenue
Service. But were you aware that there
is a completely separate arm of OSHA
designed to help small businesses
provide a safe environment for their
employees? Best of all, it's free.
The statement " We're from the government
and we're here to help " has
been the punch line in many a pop culture
medium. At the very least, it raises
an eyebrow when spoken from an overstarched,
briefcase-toting individual.
Entrepreneurs are natural skeptics when
it comes to governmental assistance and
advice. But I am here to tell you, this one is
a pretty good deal.
OSHA Consultation Services program
I stumbled across this side of OSHA
when I began teaching a warehouse
management course for the American
Supply Association. In our discussions
about employee safety, some of the
participants mentioned that they had
invited an OSHA consultant in to do an
assessment of their facility. After the
initial shock wore off-envisioning
letting the fox in the hen house-I was
42 intents june-july 2022
exposed to some amazing success stories.
After the session, I did some research
and learned that this less publicized side
of the safety and health administration
is referred to as the OSHA Consultation
Services program. I even invited a
member of the consulting service side
to speak at one of my training classes. It
was at this event that my opinion of this
agency completely changed.
The consulting program is designed
to help small businesses provide safe
working environments. It generally
focuses on companies with fewer than
250 employees at one site and works
on practical solutions designed to it
the individual environment. Best of all,
working with the consulting services
side of OSHA can give you an exemption
from the enforcement side for up to two
years. I would consider that some pretty
cheap insurance.
The alternative
So what happens if the enforcement
side of OSHA comes knocking on your
door? For starters, you are going to get
a violation. I don't care how squeaky
clean you think you are; an inspector can
always ind something to write up.
As anyone who has been investigated
by OSHA can tell you, this is not a slapon-the-wrist
event. Generally, irst-time
offenders without malicious or negligent
intent can expect somewhere around
$7,000 per violation discovered. Willful,
repeat or severe negligence situations
can expect $50,000 to $70,000 ines
being levied. Of course, these ines are

InTents June/July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents June/July 2022

InTents June/July 2022 - Cover1
InTents June/July 2022 - Cover2
InTents June/July 2022 - 1
InTents June/July 2022 - 2
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