The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could be enacting some of the most significant changes in recent history this year. There are a couple of them in particular that we would like to highlight for you.
Signed into law by President Obama on Nov. 2, 2015, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which allows an increase in the maximums for fines for the first time since 1990. The increased penalty adjustment must come into effect by August 1, 2016, and it is expected that the ceiling for a serious or other-than-serious citation will jump from $7,000 to $12,500 and the top willful and repeat penalty from $70,000 to $125,000. With increased penalty amounts comes increased financial risk and liability for each OSHA violation found. Now is a good time to review safety policies and focus on retraining employees on the rules and requirements in place for working safely.
New Inspection Priorities
OSHA changed the way it approaches inspections when it launched the new Enforcement Weighting System (EWS) on Oct. 1, 2015. The EWS allows for fewer inspections, but increases the number of facility check- ups, in efforts to emphasize quality over quantity. OSHA administrator David Michaels says that “by de-emphasizing inspection totals – in recent years, OSHA averaged about 40,000 inspections annually – OSHA will be able to tackle more complicated, time-consuming cases”. These check-ups will involve more complex hazards, including process safety management, ergonomics, heat hazards, permissible chemical exposures, workplace violence, and combustible dust.
Based on these trends, staying in compliance with both current and updated OSHA requirements is important on any jobsite not only for avoiding fines, but more importantly for the health and safety of your workers.
Summit Can Help
If you’re concerned about how your facility might be viewed and assessed by an OSHA inspector, we can help. With a visit from one of Summit Safety Alliance’s (SSA) expert EH&S professionals located around the country, you can help ensure that your records, safety programs, and job performances are up-to-date and in compliance, preparing you for an OSHA inspection.
SSA will visit your location to conduct a comprehensive facility and procedural compliance audit to look for any areas of possible noncompliance, work practice violations, safety hazards, and facility inadequacies. Based on your results, SSA can recommend changes to your safety policies and procedures, as well as create a new, custom safety program for your facility, with the option of onsite safety training.