Why Workplace Safety Standards Are Vital For Your Small Business?
Besides your ethical responsibility toward your employees to keep them safe from harm, workplace accidents cost money and time; and your business could be liable for substantial penalties that could wipe out your cash flow and seriously jeopardize your future.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) penalties for willful violations of safety rules that could result in death or serious physical harm go from $5,000 to anywhere up to $70,000. Paying attention to safety is definitely worth your time and investment as a business owner.
We offer you a brief review of what are the regulations you should be compliant with, and how is the best way to communicate them to your employees.
What are OSHA Regulations?
All employers, whether they have one employee or 1,000, are subject to federal OSHA requirements. Business that use non-employee workers, such as independent contractors or volunteers, are not subject to OSHA. Its important to remember that a worker is considered an employee if you:
- Control the actions of the employee
- Have the power to control the employee's actions
- Are able to fire the employee or modify employment conditions
Employers with 10 or fewer employees don't have to report injuries and illnesses, but that doesn't mean they are exempt from OSHA regulations.
How do I Comply with OSHA?
The first step in complying with OSHA is learning the standards you must adhere to, this would normally include general recommendations for all businesses, and specific regulations depending on the industry you're in.
For example, every business has to comply with general industry standards, which cover things like safety exits, ventilation, hazardous materials, personal protective equipment like goggles and gloves, sanitation, first aid and fire safety.
Under OSHA, you also have a general duty to maintain a safe workplace, which covers all situations for which there are published standards. In other words, just because you complied with the standards that specifically apply to your industry doesn't mean you're off the hook. You also need to keep up with all that the government may have thought of and published standards for.
How do I communicate it to my employees?
When you have a safety program in place, put it in writing with a safety manual. Your safety manual should explain what to do in the event of a fire, explosion, natural disaster or any other catastrophe your business may face. Make sure you keep well-stocked fire extinguishers and first-aid kits at convenient locations through out your building. Also make sure employees know where these are located and how to use them. In addition to emergency procedures, your safety manual should explain proper procedures for performing any routine tasks that could be hazardous. Ask employees for input here; they are closest to the jobs and may know about dangerous situations that aren't obvious to you.
It is very important that you review this procedures on a regular basis and that you are advised by professionals that will help you stay compliant. You're putting your company's commitment to safety on the line, so make sure you get it right.
At GBS Group we work hard to provide services directed to help businesses with any HHRR needs. Our Human Capital Management services can help you change your company and offer your employees the best working environment, and therefore, increase your productivity.
Contact us today to start working together to create a better business and future for you and your employees.