6 tips for staying up to date
OSHA regulations are important for every business, but construction companies are firmly on the administration’s radar. In 2015, the last year in which complete data is available, there were 937 worker deaths in construction. This was the highest number since 2008 and made up 21.4 percent of all private industry worker deaths across the country.
Unless you want your company to become a part of this statistic, you’ll want to stay up to date on OSHA regulations. Here are a few tips for doing just that:
1. Utilize available resources
It used to be much harder to keep up with OSHA regulations prior to the internet. Now that you have the world at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for being out of touch. There are plenty of free online resources available, and you should make time each month to review them.
OSHA QuickTakes is a free online newsletter that OSHA releases twice a month to discuss new developments and changes. Subscribe and you’ll find out when anything major happens. Beyond that, the OSHA website has industry-specific resources, as do other independent safety websites and blogs. If your business is a member of industry organizations or groups, they should also provide you with materials for remaining compliant.
2. Subscribe to the Federal Register
While online resources, like those mentioned above, are great for keeping up to date on OSHA regulations, you may also want to subscribe to the Federal Register. The Federal Register publishes OSHA standards when they’re adopted as well as updates for corrections, deletions and amendments. You can obtain an annual subscription through the U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, or at your local public library.
3. Assign a safety officer
You need someone on your staff who is tasked with managing employee safety. Otherwise, people will continue putting it off, since they don’t see it as their responsibility. It doesn’t have to be their full-time job, but you need to give them adequate space and time to attend to OSHA-compliance needs.
A lot of companies have a “safety officer” position. This individual is asked to create safety plans, monitor new OSHA developments, record injuries and accidents, and work with employees to ensure conditions are up to par with industry standards.
4. Invest in OSHA safety training programs
OSHA does a good job of providing training programs and materials for employers. Some of these training programs are required, while others are highly encouraged. Have your safety officer take a look at these programs and consider implementing a few of them. They’ll help you stay up to date with new trends and will show OSHA that you’re prioritizing the health and safety of your employees.
5. Hold regular safety meetings
It’s one thing for your safety officer and top-level employees to understand OSHA regulations. It’s another entirely for employees and lower-level managers to understand and follow these same standards.
One of the best things you can do is hold regular safety meetings where you review past issues, discuss new developments and practice ways to prevent future issues. Log these meetings and keep a record of all discussions so that you can present them as proof if there’s ever an incident.
6. Hire an OSHA attorney
It might not seem necessary, but having an OSHA defense attorney ready at the helm can help you should you ever run into any issues. Additionally, they can help you avoid issues altogether by keeping you abreast of new rules.
Be proactive, not reactive
There’s no time for being reactive when it comes to worker safety and OSHA regulations. By being proactive, you’ll not only keep your workers safer, but you’ll avoid costly fines and penalties that can really hurt your business moving forward. Now’s the time to act.