Safety in the shop is an important and serious matter. It requires the same careful attention you give to sales and shop efficiency. Sadly, though, for most businesses, it takes a back seat until either the workers’ compensation claims become so large the premiums bury you, or worse, a tragic accident occurs. No one wants a visit from OSHA, but if you don’t have a clear-cut safety program you may be heading in that direction.
Recently, our workers compensation company paid us a visit. The company gave us a list of items we could improve on and listed the fines that we could be assessed for noncompliance. We asked if OSHA was going to visit us. More than likely it would only happen if a major accident occurred, but when that happens you are open to all sorts of scrutiny. In that case, being constantly prepared for a visit is good for the health of the company, but more importantly you are protecting your most important asset, your employees. They are the only investment you make that doesn’t depreciate in value.
Every aspect of your company needs to be looked at. Below is a list complied by VOSH (Virginia Occupational Safety) of the 10 most frequent shop violations. Even though the list is from Virginia, I’m sure the principles apply no matter what part of the country you live in.
1. Lock-out, tag out
2. Fire extinguisher training and education
3. Hazard methods — written hazcom program
4. Wiring methods — cabinets, boxes and fittings
5. Respiratory protection program
6. Flexible cords and cables
7. Machine guarding
8. Powered industrial trucks — operator training
9. PPE — hazard assessment and equipment selection
10. Hazard communication — employee information and training
To cover every violation would take more space than this column allows for, so let’s discuss the one that affects not only the shop, but also the office.