The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hitting hospitals hard.
Due to a large number of work-related injuries among nursing employees, OSHA is no longer just offering a series of guidelines and safety manuals on moving and lifting patients. Now, the federal agency is making OSHA inspections a surprise to make sure those guidelines on workplace safety are enforced — and fining hospitals that don’t comply.
“We've seen from the statistics how bad the problems are, but we haven't been to that many hospitals,” OSHA chief David Michaels recently told NPR. “It's time for us to start doing some enforcement to make sure fewer workers are hurt.”
Hospitals aren’t the only workplaces that have to be on guard for more OSHA inspections this year. After looking at OSHA’s budget, Manufacturing.net concluded that 2015 would be “the year of inspections.” Specifically, OSHA is doing a lot more industrial health inspections and putting an intense focus on workplace safety.
Further complicating the picture for business owners: OSHA has issued a variety of new workplace safety regulations to implement. For example, OSHA bolstered its injury and death notification requirements at the start of the year. Employers now must notify OSHA of work-related employee deaths within eight hours and of severe injuries within 24 hours.
At the same time, another OSHA regulation increased the list of employer types that are now required to maintain injury and illness records. Among the long list of businesses newly required to keep records: bakeries, automotive and tire stores, liquor stores, consumer goods rental agencies, and performing arts companies.
With the new federal OSHA requirements, OSHA anticipates receiving 50,000 to 75,000 new injury and hospitalization reports in fiscal 2016. “OSHA fully intends to respond to the thousands of injuries it expects will be reported in response to the new recordkeeping rule,” according to leading labor and employment law firm Epstein, Becker, Green, which notes that OSHA and compliance officers have been “very aggressive” in their enforcement efforts in recent months and have been levying ever larger penalties.
Clearly, there’s much at stake. With these ever-shifting OSHA regulations and compliance standards, small and medium-sized businesses without huge safety budgets might feel powerless. You may have to develop a new training program, update your safety manuals, consult your attorneys, and maybe even hire more safety compliance officers. All of this adds up to significant amounts of dollars and time when attempting to adhere to OSHA safety standards.
Fortunately, with the help of some easy-to-use and affordable workplace safety technology, you can begin to shift the balance of power back in your favor.
While OSHA issues inspection checklists, the agency also advises industries and businesses to develop their own safety plan and policies. GoCanvas mobile apps, which can be customized to your company’s needs, can make your OSHA compliance efforts much easier and more effective.
With mobile apps, you can gather data through internal safety and health inspections, then store that data in the cloud where it can be retrieved and analyzed to offer helpful insights — What are your common problem areas? Which employees have consistently not followed safety guidelines? The focus of your analysis can be tailored to meet your company’s unique needs.
GoCanvas has more resources to help you take your OSHA compliance program to an entirely new level. Check out:
For more information about how to maintain OSHA compliance and manage an OSHA inspection, download our eBook, “ 4 Steps to Prepare for OSHA Safety Inspections.”