How Does Leading your Safety Team Save you Money?
Did you know that this month is National Safety Month? In this week’s article we’re going to address the absolute importance of leading your Safety Team. Contractors around the USA struggle to understand what’s required of them in regards to proper Safety Compliance. As a result, businesses are facing fines over 7 figures for engaging in practices OSHA deems dangerous. We’ve taken time to compile a list of recent fines that you could be exposed to. Read on to see potential risks your company could be exposed to from improper safety compliance.
East Framing Inc., subcontracted for framing work, faces $65,450 in fines for one willful and three serious safety violations.
According to OSHA’s Website, “…federal safety investigators observed seven workers employed by East Framing Inc. of Grimesland, North Carolina, exposed to fall hazards up to five stories high while they did framing work at the site in the 1800 block of P Street.”
In many cases fines like these can be avoided by using the proper fall protection gear. OSHA has reported time and time again that neglecting basic fall safety compliance can cost thousands of dollars in fines. What’s worse, it puts your guys at risk of serious injury and death.
Fines are only one aspect here that can hurt your company. In addition to serious charges brought against your business, you are also facing potential legal fees, workers compensation fees, and potential lawsuits from your own employees. All of this is money that could be saved. In addition to this, your reputation is put on the line.
Fines are nearly always documented and publicized. If your company is caught outside of OSHA compliance, you don’t only expose yourself to risk of financial loss, you lose trust from your customers as well.
OSHA fines window restoration company $40K for lead, other hazards. Window Master Inc. cited for repeat and serious violations
“Over exposure to lead can cause permanent kidney, blood and reproductive damage,” said Rosemarie Cole, Concord OSHA area director. “This employer needs to provide effective safeguards to correct hazards and prevent them from happening again.”
OSHA cited Window Master Inc. for several hazards in May 2015. As a result, OSHA has cited the company for six repeat violations as well as for three serious violations of workplace health and safety standards. Proposed penalties total $40,400.
Can your company afford this kind of loss? Simple negligence to proper safety procedures has put this company at risk of being shut-down, and worse.
Of course, it’s always possible that employees break rules set in place. However your company will still be held responsible for violations within your scope of work. As a result it’s important to be prepared with proper documentation and test kits, knowledge, and certifications to handle complicated procedures such as lead paint removal.
All of this leads to an important aspect of this article- How Can you Lead your Safety Team?
Safety Meetings: Why You’ve Been Missing out on Risk Management Opportunities
When was the last time your company held a safety meeting? Was it this week? Perhaps it was a few months ago? What influence could regular safety meetings have on leading your safety team?
Contractors fall in varying levels of commitment when it comes to Safety Meetings. In many industries Safety Meetings are only a recommendation and not a requirement. However, OSHA states the following in regards to Safety Meeting Frequency:
” You must have safety meetings monthly or quarterly depending on what your business does.
• If you have construction workers: Meet at least monthly and meet before the start of each job that lasts more than one week.
• If your employees do mostly office work: Meet at least quarterly.
• All other employers: Meet at least monthly.”
Reducing job hazards means reducing potential compliance issues and ultimately saving lives. By complying with OSHA standards to begin with, you will avoid fines that come from neglecting proper safety procedures. However your employees are not always educated in proper compliance and safety. For this reason, Safety Meetings are crucial to educating employees on what practices to avoid and what to include. Foster a culture of compliance and teamwork within your company to achieve the common goal of preserving lives. You might be wondering after this-
What does a Good Safety Meeting Look Like?
There really isn’t any one answer to this. Safety meetings can vary by topic, location, trade, and many other factors. To hold a proper meeting, you’ll have to meet with your safety team and discuss what fits your company best. We recommend the following agenda as a sample to base your own structure off of:
1. To start, any previous accidents or possible incidents that could have lead to accidents should be discussed. In addition, follow-up from investigation of previous incidents and injuries should be discussed. During this section, updates to the company’s Accident Prevention Plan can be made.
2. Safety-Inspection results and reports. At this point safety inspection results should be discussed and any follow up from prior assignments should happen. You should always strive to foster a spirit of openess and encourage employees to identify any unsafe conditions or tasks. If possible, assign individuals to take care of any possible safety hazards and violations.
3. Training. Discuss any new safe work procedures or other policies and procedures that need to be implemented. In general a Safety Topic of the Month and presentation and discussion on the chosen topic is appropriate here.
4. Open Discussion. This is a time for anyone with a concern or insight into safety conditions to speak their mind and resolve potential issues that can lead to costly fines.
5. Plan the Next Meeting: Assign a speaker for the next meeting, pick a meeting topic, and ensure that all assignments are handled for reporting in the next meeting.
6. Include a signed list of members that attended and a signature from the safety leader.
Remember, this format is flexible and can be changed depending on your company’s needs. However it’s important that meetings are held regularly and with sincerity. Failure to take this practice seriously will result in even more expenses and fines that your company may not be able to afford.
I don’t know where to start! Do you have any recommendations?
We understand how daunting it can be to try to sort all of this out. By popular request, we have created our own Safety Meeting Manuals which serve to take the stress off contractors like you by saving you time, money, and lives. Our Safety Meeting Manuals are the most comprehensive and personalized manual on the market today. To learn more about how these manuals can save your company, feel free to visit our informational page here.
In addition to this, OSHA has published an entire guide to Safety Meetings in the Construction Industry.
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