Safety remains a top priority throughout the industry, but for some small to medium-sized manufacturers, a safe culture can remain an elusive element.
What those companies need to remember is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does have programs that can help those companies improve their safety.
Along those lines, last year 27,385 small and mid-sized U.S. businesses took advantage of OSHA’s free and confidential On-site Consultation Program to remove workplace hazards and better protect their workers.
The program primarily benefits small and mid-sized businesses as 57 percent of those helped last year had fewer than 26 employees.
Priority goes to high-hazard industries, with more than half of all visits going to construction or manufacturing sites.
In 2016, consultants identified and helped employers eliminate more than 140,000 hazards, protecting an estimated 3.3 million workers from possible injury, illness or death.
This free safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort. Employers can find out about potential hazards at their workplace, improve programs already in place, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.
The consultation is confidential and will not end up reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff. No citations or penalties end up issued and the only obligation is to correct serious job safety and health hazards — a commitment expected to occur prior to the actual visit and then end up carried out in a timely manner.
Because consultation is a voluntary activity, the employer must request it. The consultant will discuss specific needs and set up a visit date based on the priority assigned.
The consultant will start with an opening conference with you before beginning the walk through. The consultant will study your entire workplace, pointing out safety or health risks (some which may not have an applicable OSHA standard). After the walk-through, the consultant will review the findings with you before leaving. The consultant will then send detailed written report explaining the findings and confirming any abatement periods agreed upon.