American workers and citizens’ health and safety is a core concern of local, state and federal regulators and understandably so. After all, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports that 2,986,500 non-fatal workplace injuries or illnesses were reported in 2011 for privately owned businesses alone. These injuries and illnesses caused people to miss 908,300 days from work. To help reduce the likelihood that workers, customers and people visiting workplaces get injured or become ill due to being at the facilities, OSHA and other regulatory agencies require business owners to establish safety training and review plans. In order to keep track of the plans, you should consider implementing a health and safety management system.
Safety aside, maintaining a health and safety management system could easily add hours of administrative and inspection work to your schedule. If you use a paper health and safety management system, you could also end up having to add more real estate to your books, just so you have the space to store the documents. This could put your business at risk, increasing the likelihood that required safety documents get lost, damaged or acquired by the wrong people.
These are a few things that could also increase the chances that your firm will get inspected. Other factors that could cause your company to get audited by a regulatory agency include someone getting injured on your property or becoming ill while using chemicals, etc. at your workplace. Some of these events, like a customer falling on your property, may not be able to be prevented. To reduce the likelihood that your company will undergo a regulatory audit, you and your management team can set up a reliable health and safety management system. You can use the system to self-audit documents like financial agreements, training records and employee safety forms, ensuring that the documents have been signed and filed as outlined in corporate, local, state and federal laws.
A health and safety management system could protect your firm these and other risks by:
- Sending you alerts when your firm falls behind in completing safety tests and other actions
- Tracking the progress of safety initiatives
- Ensuring that employees complete required safety training
- Maintaining safety training and policy understanding forms signed by customers and employees
- Listing action steps taking to address safety audits
- Managing health and safety binders
Add in-house inspections and audits to your health and safety management system procedures and you could educate your staff on what to look for in certain areas (i.e. manufacturing departments, testing laboratories) of your company. Mobile inspection software programs could also help your company, including departments located in other cities, pass unannounced regulatory inspections. Not only could this save you fines and penalties, it could also strengthen your brand, sending a message to the public that you value worker and customer safety.
http://www.osha.gov/ (Occupational Safety & Health Administration)
http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/ (Environmental Protection Agency)
This article was written by Rhonda Campbell.