InTents June/July 2022 - 43

negotiable and rarely does a company
pay the full amount, but it hurts all
the same. How many additional sales
dollars do you have to produce to pay for
$50,000 in violations? Do the math.
The details
Here is how the consultation service
works. First, it should be noted that
the consultation side is not allowed to
discuss your case with the enforcement
side. In most states, they are completely
separate entities. In fact, many states
contract with local universities to
conduct the consulting services.
1. Step One
Contact your local consultative service
program either by phone or email. The
best way to locate your local ofice is
to look on the OSHA.gov website and
click on the " Help and Resources " tab.
You will ind a link to the Consultation
Services program. Again, each state
handles this a little differently. Once
you have made contact, you set up an
appointment for the initial meeting.
2. Step Two
This is the on-site visit. The consultant
will explain the program and what they
will be looking for during the visit. They
will explain their separation from the
enforcement side of OSHA and clarify
expectations from both sides. Then
they will complete the walk-through
survey and gather information for their
report. At the close of the day, both
sides will discuss reasonable timelines
for cleaning up the issues discovered
during the walk-through.
3. Step Three
The consultants will formalize the
report and document the agreed-upon
action steps. They may also provide
some research and statistical data to
help you justify the work you are doing
to make your workplace safe. By the
way, this information can be very helpful
when negotiating insurance rates.
4. Step Four
The company must correct any situation
that poses imminent danger or
is a severe OSHA violation. Other recommendations
must be implemented
within the agreed-upon timeline.
Hazards must be posted where employees
can see them until the problem
is corrected. Part of the enforcement exemption
is the understanding that you
will comply with the recommendations.
Be proactive
The best thing about this program is
that you will be providing a safe work
environment for the people who work
with you and for you. As a bonus, the
enforcement people can't touch you for
at least a year . So here is a little advice. A
sizable accident or a string of claims can
trigger an OSHA audit. If you think you
may be getting a visit, call the consulting
services folks.
The only catch is that you must clean
up what the consultants ind. But this
is a small price to pay considering
the alternative.
No decent business owner wants to see
his or her employees get injured on the job.
When someone goes down, the rest of the
team has to step up and cover the work.
Additionally, we owners have typically
developed relationships with the people
who have made us successful over the
years. They become a part of our family.
It is unsettling to the whole team when a
member of that family sustains a serious
injury-especially if it was avoidable.
I know the thought of inviting OSHA
into your facility is slightly uncomfortable,
but this is one government program I
would take a hard look at. If anything, it
might just prompt you to become more
safety conscious in the future. Good luck.
Jason Bader is principal of The Distribution
Team, based out of Portland, Ore. For details,
visit distributionteam.com.
InTentsMag.com 43
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InTents June/July 2022

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