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Keys to compliance

Meet OSHA requirements with these five steps
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - 09:00
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You’ve probably heard about the Connecticut shop that recently was investigated and fined by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The name of that shop and the specifics surrounding the case won’t be mentioned here, since they’re not the focus of this article. More important to you is the fact that OSHA investigations do happen, and shops do get fined — often thousands of dollars.

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Beyond the monetary loss, there’s plenty of other fallout you’ll probably experience should you ever be fined. Customers and neighbors can come to believe you aren’t running a particularly clean operation. Blame runs throughout your shop as employees, management and ownership point at one another.

Fortunately, you can avoid these problems with the right approach to your work. The key to OSHA compliance is organization. Get your act together and make your shop the safest, most compliant business possible with these steps:

Step 1. Choose a compliance manager.

While everyone on your team plays an important part in compliance, you still need to name one person who will lead your efforts. This person will be responsible for knowing all OSHA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local safety and environment regulations.

Putting one person in charge offers several significant advantages. For one, this person can focus on compliance and be the resource for your and others’ questions. If this responsibility is placed on several employees, there’s a greater chance the duties required might get passed around — and ignored or dismissed.

You’ll want to make sure your compliance manager already has a significant role in your operation. This employee needs to have the power to enforce rules and correct employees who make mistakes.

What skill set should your compliance manager have? Find someone with impeccable organizational skills, who already has an interest in compliance and has the time to manage this important part of your business. Don’t take it on yourself if you don’t have the time, nor should you pass it onto a production manager who already is drowning in work. Assistant managers, a shop foreman and others can be well suited for this position.

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