National Safety Month Observance
HR Advisor feature article | June 2011
June is National Safety Month! However, all employers need to diligently pay attention to workplace safety on a daily basis. The federal Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act requires each employer to provide a safe workplace environment for its employees. Even if you own a very small business, you as the employer are subject to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
Lack of safety guidelines and procedures to protect the health and welfare of your employees can subject your business to costly penalties. For example, on May 25, 2011, OSHA announced that AMD Industries will face penalties of $1,247,400. In this case, the company’s untrained, unprotected workers were found to have been exposed to cancer-causing asbestos during required removal of the material.
Last month, OSHA also launched an employer survey regarding workplace safety and health management practices. Survey questions included whether or not safety management systems have been established and whether regular inspections are conducted. While specific survey results are not to be used for enforcement directly against the survey respondents, OSHA is anticipated to apply the findings toward tougher rule-making proposals and increased compliance enforcement efforts.
So, get prepared! Proactively review your company’s safety standards, and make updates as necessary. Consider additional action items, such as:
- Reviewing current safety protocols.
- Identifying workplace hazards (i.e. caustic cleaning chemicals or loud machine noise).
- Creating an action plan to remedy workplace health and safety risks.
- Training all managers and their employees on proper safety procedures, and being sure to document for the record.
- Monitoring employee usage of meal and rest breaks as scheduled to help prevent work fatigue.
Businesses in each industry will not face the same sets of expectations and requirements for workplace safety. On the other hand, each and every business must ensure that the safety of all its employees is well-secured and well-documented.
Subscribe to MyPayrollHR's free newsletter HR Advisor, and receive articles like this one—plus HR alerts, advice, tips, and tools—in your inbox each month.
.:. Subscribe now >>