The information below will help you acquire a sense of how many regulations exist, gain an understanding of your organization’s legal duties and obligations and identify your level of compliance and readiness.
When we discuss OSHA and MIOSHA, we are referring to federal and state laws. They are not just suggestions, opinions, options or recommendations.
- General Industry Safety and Health Standards (94 Safety Standards and 38 Health Standards)
- Construction Safety and Health Standards (37 Safety Standards and 28 Health Standards)
- Administrative Standards for All Industries (7 Standards)
- Agriculture Operations Standards (11 Standards)
There are also the OSHA Standards, National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Department of Transpiration (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Labor, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), just to name a few. You may also need to have procedures in place for issues including ethics, sexual harassment, cybersecurity, contractors, email and internet, texting and driving, smoking, drug and alcohol use, anti-discrimination and harassment, grievances and a code of conduct.
Feeling overwhelmed? You are not alone. Every business is required to comply with the same regulations. Compliance requires a strategy, commitment and resources.
More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers.
If all employers simply corrected the Top Ten hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, injuries and hospitalizations would decline dramatically. In 2019, there were 35 MIOSHA related deaths in Michigan. We need to make sure we doing all we can to prevent injuries and most importantly send our employees home the same way they came to work: alive and upright.
Michigan’s Top Ten most cited regulations in 2018:
- Hazard Communication – Written hazard communication program
- Medical Services & First Aid – Emergency eye/body flush stations
- Hazard Communication – Employee information and training
- Respiratory Protection – Written respiratory protection program
- Personal Protective Equipment – Use of eye and face protection
- Bloodborne Infectious Diseases – Written exposure control plan
- Occupational Noise Exposure – Hearing conservation program
- Personal Protective Equipment – Use of Hand Protection
- Respiratory Protection – Medical Evaluation
- Bloodborne Infectious Diseases – Exposure determination
Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a preliminary list of the ten most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff.
- Fall Protection
- Hazard Communication
- Respiratory Protection
- Powered Industrial Trucks
- Electrical, Wiring Methods
- Machine Guarding
- Electrical, General Requirements
One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, MIOSHA and OSHA inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.
Have you reviewed your company’s written safety procedures to make sure they are meeting the minimum requirements of the Standards? Procedures may no longer be compliant because there have been critical word changes in the regulatory narrative.
The Worker Endangerment Initiative is a joint effort between the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor to utilize the enhanced penalties available under environmental and Title 18 felonies to prevent and deter crimes that put the lives and health of workers at risk.
Well-written business policies and procedures allow employees to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities within predefined limits.
Policies and procedures are the strategic link between the company vision, and its day-to-day operations. Developing clearly written policies and procedures that are documented, updated and followed bring structure to an organization and assist in the day-to-day decision making processes. Policies and procedures need to be adaptable to the needs of the company and enforced across the organization. They also serve as an internal control method so managers cannot take free license to make creative or unauthorized decisions.
Written policies and procedures are important tools for preventing losses and defending your organization in legal proceedings should they occur. Clear description of work duties and how to perform them will decrease and minimize the frequency and severity of incidents.
A critical sign that your policies and procedures need to be reviewed and updated would include an increase in the frequency of incidents, higher failure rates or costly overruns as well as more frequent staff questions on ‘normal operations’ or a feeling of general confusion within a department or division.
Major benefits of solid, well-written procedures:
- Provide employees with information that allows them the freedom to carry out their jobs and make decisions within defined boundaries.
- Employees understand the constraints of their job without using a ‘trial and error’ approach, as key points are visible.
- Everyone is working off the same page; employees can get the “official” word on how they should go about their tasks quickly and easily.
- Enable the workforce to clearly understand individual and team responsibilities, thus saving time and resources.
Where Does Your Company Stand?
- Have you completed a Management Procedure / Policy Audit?
- Have you completed a Site Audit?
- Is there sincere executive level support?
- Can you demonstrate through documentation that your staff has been trained?
- Do staff, supervisors, management and employees understand the importance of policies and procedures?
- Do you have a sound disciplinary process in place that follows your written Safety Procedures and Polices?
For the protection of your company and all those that work there, it is highly recommended that compliance becomes a priority.