OSHA Cracks Down, But There’s a Simple Fix

By Michael Benedict on October 8, 2014

OSHA is cracking down on construction companies that have demonstrated recalcitrance or indifference to the safety of their employees. In 2010 OSHA launched a program called the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) to address repeat violators, and is increasing enforcement to bring companies in line.

Workers are up high, but not wearing appropriate fall equipment (source)

According to OSHA’s website, construction companies make up a whopping 60% of the severe violators list, while all other businesses represent only 40%. About 55% of all violators are small employers, with less than 10 employees.

So what does it take to make it on the Severe Violator List?

Here are the qualifying criteria: 

  • Is a fatality or catastrophe inspection with one or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices?
  • Is a non-fatality/catastrophe inspection with two or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices that are high gravity violations related to High-Emphasis Hazards?
  • Is a non-fatality/catastrophe inspection with three or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices that are high gravity violations related to the potential release of a highly hazardous chemical?

Companies can petition to get off the list, but here is a better idea – why not put a Safety Program in place to avoid having an infamous Severe Violator label? I mean, it’s not something you want to use as a tag line on your website, right?

An essential component of any safety program is to be proactive. Demonstrate your organization is committed to safety. Be able to document and have on hand safety inspections and records when OSHA shows up. But how do you get your employees to commit to safety? One way to ensure recurring safety checks is to make safety documents always available to any of your employees.  This can be done by providing checklists, PPE inspections, equipment inspections, best practices and so on as mobile apps.  

Think about your employees being able to pull out their smartphone or tablet and pull up a PPE inspection that allows them to quickly assess safety questions such as “Are protective helmets used wherever there is the possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns;” “Does equipment show signs of corrosion” and so on. No one in your company would be able to claim they did not know safety procedures, did not perform the safety checks, etc. They always have them right in their pocket.

Once completed, you immediately receive a PDF of the inspection/check via email, and the inspection is simultaneously stored in your account and accessible 24/7.

Keeping your workplace safe and in compliance is dependent on making it easy for your workers to access safety information needed to keep them from harm’s way. Mobile apps are one effective way to accomplish this.  

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