You Need to Establish a Safety Program That is Right for Your Company - 12/03/2012

Safety E-QuickTips
U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.
Monday, December 3, 2012 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Safety E-QuickTips is a weekly email designed to help Employers and Employees start their week with a short thought about safety in the workplace.
You Need to Establish a Safety Program That is Right for Your Company
Over the years we have represented hundreds of employers who have been cited by OSHA.
Because most of the employers that we have represented have not met all 4 of OSHA's requirements, the best we have been able to do is to get their penalties reduced. Due to factual issues we've been able to get some violations deleted for others. For those select few that have met OSHA's 4 requirements, we've been able to get their citations completely deleted.
One of the cases that comes to mind happened several years ago and the company is still one of our clients today. The company was a subcontractor on a jobsite and they were in the unenviable position of having the general contractor blaming their company for an OSHA violation that was clearly not their responsibility.
Before I go on, for those of you who may have just started reading Safety E-QuickTips, the 4 OSHA requirements I'm referring to are:
1. Establish company safety policies and procedures
2. Effectively communicate the policies and procedures to your employees
3. Perform regular and frequent jobsite safety inspections
4. Employ consistent enforcement procedures
With our assistance, our client prevailed in the OSHA case and it was dropped. The ease with which they won was in no small measure due to our client having followed our suggestion to document job site inspections and ensure that employees follow established procedures. With proper documentation, it was easy to prove that the alleged violation was directly chargeable to another trade contractor.
While the primary purpose of a safety program is to ensure a safe working environment for employees, a secondary purpose is to protect the company from liability.
While every case with OSHA is unique, this particular case had a strange twist for the general contractor. They had a safety program which, if quickly scanned, would seem to imply that this company was truly interested in safety.
Within the first seven pages of their program, they stated in writing that:
1. The CEO maintained overall control and direction for their safety program;
2. The Operations Manager would ensure all field personnel were aware of and effectively practiced the policies and procedures set out in their safety program;
3. The Corporate Safety Director, by regular site inspections, would remain aware of site safety compliance and may order work stoppage for unsafe conditions or practices;
4. The Site Safety Director would conduct daily inspections and also has the authority to stop work if a condition is unsafe;
5. The Project Manager would resolve safety problems and set up program compliance with the subcontractors;
6. The General Superintendent would visually inspect the site regularly; and,
7. The Superintendent would be the competent person who carries the legal responsibility for the site conditions and standards.
That's a lot of people responsible for safety, a lot of people performing inspections, a lot of people making corrections, and a lot of people documenting a lot of paperwork.
Only one problem: none of the above personnel did their job. No job site inspections, no corrections, no documentation, nothing!
Not surprisingly, the whole lot of them, rather than accepting responsibility for their failure to perform, tried unsuccessfully to accuse our client of wrongdoing for something they missed. Because our client had a safety program that really worked and because he actually used it, the ploy failed.
There is absolutely no point in having a safety program that is so complex, confusing, and overwhelming that it's unworkable. Just as there is no point in having a safety program that is so simple that it is meaningless.
The point I hope you will take away from this is that no matter what type industry you are in, contracting, service industry, manufacturing and professional services, you need to establish a safety program that is right for your company and use it because it is one of the best ways to protect your company's most valuable assets: employees, reputation and profits!
From everyone at U.S. Compliance Systems, we want to wish you and your employees a Safe and Happy Holiday Season.
If you still have questions please feel free to send an email or give me a call. ( 1-888-475-5353.
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Thanks for Reading and Please - Work Safe This Week!
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U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.
Phone: 1-888-475-5353
Fax: 1-888-925-5353
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