As a small business owner, you may be familiar with OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Part of the Department of Labor, OSHA provides training, education, outreach, and assistance to employers and workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions.
But did you know that OSHA also offers a free On-site Consultation Program? Designed for small and medium-sized business owners, the program helps businesses identify potential safety and occupational issues.
Here are some important ways it can help your business.
The OSH Act requires that “no worker should have to choose between their life and their job” and that “employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace.” As of 2018, they have reduced workplace fatalities by almost 63%, so they are indeed making a big difference.
Keeping current on regulations for your workers’ health and welfare is a serious priority and no small task. Businesses that don’t comply with OSHA safety guidelines could face fines or other penalties. Even worse, hazardous working conditions put your employees at risk. OSHA compliance benefits both your workers and your bottom line.
How can the On-site Consultation Program help your business?
OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program is a professional and comprehensive service specifically designed to provide small to medium-sized businesses with compliance assistance. Some priority is placed on the most hazardous places of employment, and OSHA has a nationwide network of representatives.
The program’s goal is to identify unsafe areas, hazardous substances, and out-of-date policies and offer ways to address the issues. The service is free-of-charge and not connected with routinely scheduled OSHA inspections.
The findings of your assessment are completely confidential, and no penalties will be reported or imposed. By identifying and working to reduce workplace hazards, employers could even qualify for a one-year exemption from OSHA inspections.
How Does the Program Work?
OSHA estimates that they conduct about 26,000 visits each year, benefitting roughly one million U.S. workers. Participation in the program is voluntary. Employers who’d like a consultation should reach out to their state’s Consultation Program using the OSHA Consultation Directory. You will then be contacted by a representative who will help set up a visit and discuss any concerns. The scope of the assessment is up to you. Although OSHA encourages comprehensive reviews, you can choose to target problems individually.
The entire process consists of an opening conference, walk through, closing conference, and abatement and follow through.
Although every business is different, your consultant will work with you to:
- Identify hazardous working conditions.
- Suggest solutions to help mitigate those risks.
- Detail findings in a written report for your review.
- Assist in developing effective safety practices and programs.
- Provide outreach, training, and assistance to you and your staff.
- Connect you with additional resources for further assistance.
Small Business Success
OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program is successful for a reason: it works. Primarily, they assist with addressing unsafe conditions in the workplace, but the benefits extend far beyond that. By creating a safer place of business, you help your staff feel confident their employer is taking responsibility for safety and empowering them to participate and do their part, boosting morale.
Another program benefit, a better bottom line. Effective workplace safety plans lead to higher productivity with fewer workers’ compensation costs, less equipment damage, and fewer product losses.
Here at Gorgo Group, we’re also interested in helping small businesses operate more efficiently by optimizing processes and identifying areas of opportunity in your supply chain management plan. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help make 2021 your most successful year yet!