Does your company have a written safety program which is adhered to and would meet the training requirements under the OSHA standards? Each of the standards has specific language pertaining to training, the type of training, etc. Even if you are doing the safety training, instruction, etc. in accordance with the standards are you doing the training in a manner that the employees can understand?
In other words are you conducting classes and training in Spanish for the Hispanic employees who speak no English or limited English?
How about employees, who are illiterate, can you tell them to read the safety procedures and operators manual to fulfill the requirement of their safety training? No. You can not send training material home with the employee and have a spouse, child or other person read it to them to fulfill the training requirement as some companies do.
The OSHA standards are very specific that it is the employers responsible to provide the required safety training in a manner and format that all employees can understand. The training can be conduct by a competent in house employee, manager, etc., independent safety trainer, consultant or even OSHA. Yes, OSHA can provide onsite safety training for employers who do not have the financial means or competent employee to provide the training. This training is performed through the OSHA department of consultation and training free of charge. However, OSHA resources are limited, demand is high and the waiting list for the training can be several weeks (in Arizona the wait time is 6-8 weeks). Due to the demand (in Arizona) the OSHA training and consultation office will only conduct 2 to 3 classes per employer per year.
When you conduct your safety training including any weekly toolbox or tailgate safety briefings, make sure you document the class with a minimum of a sign in log, with topic, date and who made the presentation. If you want to have the employees take quizzes all the better during an OSHA inspection.
OSHA is now going to check training records, the method and will probably ask employees about safety training and specific information covered pertaining to their job. How will your training hold up during an inspection?
If you do not have a copy of the OSHA standards for your company I strongly recommend making the investment and acquiring a current copy of the standards for your company. The standards are CFR1910 General Industry for all employers except construction and maritime operations. For the construction industry the standards are CFR1926 and maritime are CFR1915, CFR1917 and CFR1918.
OSHA Act of 1970 “General Duty Clause”
Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees, employment and a place of employment which are free of recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or physical harm to his employees: and shallcomply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct
This is the law; all other sections of the manual are the minimum standards by which an employer shall comply.
For those employers who are not familiar with the penalties that can be levied on an employer by OSHA, below gives a breakdown.
1. Non-Serious (Other Than Serious) – Is a violation of an OSHA standard which is considered minor and may not carry a penalty with it. The violation still has to be abated. May or may not carry a penalty.
2. Serious – Is a hazard in violation of an OSHA standard which has a high probability of causing illness, injury or possible death and will have a monetary penalty attached which will be determined by OSHA.
Maximum penalty may range up to $7,000 per violation.
3. Willful Serious – Is a hazard in violation of an OSHA standard which the company or management was aware of but failed to correct or abate the hazard which would lead to imminent danger of health, injury or death to an employee. This type of citation carries the potential for very expensive penalties. Maximum penalty may range up to $70,000 per violation.
4. Failure to Abate– Is when an employer fails to abate a hazard after receiving the inspection citation with violations and penalties.
Maximum penalty may range up to $7,000 per day per violation for 30 days.Back to blog list