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Workplace Safety

Avoiding Hazards and the Rising Cost of OSHA Violations in 2019

Greg Andress
by Greg Andress on January 29, 2019

workplace-hazards-2019Those who’ve been in business any amount of time probably already know that workplace safety is key to keeping employees healthy and keeping business costs down. Even businesses with little risk can have many hazards including:

  • Physical Hazards
  • Biological Hazards
  • Ergonomic Hazards
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Chemical Hazards

One of the best ways to prevent workplace accidents is by instilling a safety culture amongst employees - and it starts at the top. When supervisors and leaders set an example for the rest of the crew, more crew members demonstrate a model for safe behavior. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encourages all employers (small businesses included) to implement a safety program to substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and alleviate the financial burden that comes with them.

When employers and employees put their efforts together to communicate and prevent common workplace hazards, the number of worker injuries and illnesses are reduced. OSHA has seen significant decreases in workplace accidents compared with prior decades when safety cultures were not necessarily encouraged.

OSHA recently updated its recommended practices for implementing a safety and health program in the workplace. OSHA’s program is built around the following seven core elements:

  1. Management Leadership Participation
  2. Worker Participation
  3. Hazard Identification and Assessment
  4. Hazard Prevention and Control
  5. Education and Training
  6. Program Evaluation and Improvement
  7. Communication and Coordination for Host Employers, Contractors and Staffing Agencies

Some of the OSHA standards placed on employers include:

  • Provide a work environment free from serious safety hazards and comply with the standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act
  • Provide employees with safe tools and equipment and properly maintain the equipment
  • Provide safety training in a language workers can understand
  • Identify hazards with color coding, posters or signs to warn employees
  • Develop and implement a written communication program for chemical hazards and train employees on the hazards they may be exposed to (and the proper precautions for each)

OSHA's civil penalties amounts for violations of workplace safety and health standards are increasing to adjust for inflation. New penalties for willful and repeat violations will be $132,598 per violation; serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements are $13,260 per violation; and failure to abate violations are $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date.

Here are the Top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards violated in 2018:

  1. Fall Protection
  2. Hazard Communication
  3. Scaffolding
  4. Respiratory Protection
  5. Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout
  6. Ladders
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks
  8. Fall Protection Training
  9. Machinery and Machine Guarding
  10. Eye and Face Protection

Another recent OSHA update rescinded two major parts of its electronic recordkeeping rule and no longer requires the submission of injury and illness data from Forms 300 and 301. Only Form 300A, an annual summary of injuries and illness, is required moving forward. The deadline for 2018 Form 300A (summarizing 2018’s data but submitted in 2019) moves to March 2, beginning this year. To learn more about how to submit that data, click here.

When employers partner with Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), their employees are covered with workers’ compensation insurance. As a part of the PEO bundle, employers also receive on-site safety guidance and training to identify all types of workplace hazards, create a culture of safety best practices and prevent accidents in the workplace. A safe workplace helps employers attract and retain top talent by giving them peace of mind, which contributes to overall company success.

FrankCrum’s HR outsourcing solutions include payroll processing, HR support, HR technology, employee benefits programs, benefit administration and access to a team of employees that becomes an extension of your team. If you’re considering human resources outsourcing, give FrankCrum a call today at 800-277-1620.

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Greg Andress
Greg Andress

Greg Andress, Director of Risk Management Services for Frank Winston Crum Insurance, is a 30+ veteran of the insurance industry who has spent more than 20 years in risk management/loss control. With clients in many industries, Greg has developed proactive loss control programs, training materials and technical bulletins; and delivered training for hundreds of clients nationwide to help them understand how they can identify and control their total cost of loss.