Safety and Health Assistance for Small Businesses with OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created the Office of Small Business Assistance to help small business employers understand their safety and health obligations, access compliance information, provide guidance on regulatory standards and to educate them about cost-effective means for ensuring the safety and health of worksites.
OSHA encourages all businesses to establish safety and health programs, and find and fix hazards to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. To assist in your safety efforts, OSHA offers many resources designed specifically for smaller employers, including:
– OSHA’s Non-Retaliation Policy
• Information inquiries received by the agency regarding safety and health regulations or other safety related subjects will not trigger an inspection for your small business.
• There are a few rare exceptions to the policy, such as the employer notifying OSHA of the presence of an imminent danger or the occurrence of a fatality. However, OSHA policy is to provide assistance to help employers prevent and reduce workplace fatalities, illnesses and injuries.
– Penalty Reductions for Small Business
• OSHA considers the size of the employer, among other factors, when determining the penalty to be proposed for any violation. OSHA has always had detailed procedures in place for making this determination, which are currently outlined in the OSHA Field Operations Manual (FOM). The FOM states that proposed penalties may be reduced by the following percentages for smaller businesses:
-Up to a 60 percent penalty reduction may be applied if an employer has 25 employees or fewer
-Up to a 40 percent reduction if the employer has 26-100 employees
-Up to a 20 percent reduction if the employer has 101-250 employees
Benefits for Your Business:
As a small business owner, you are privy to some perks provided by OSHA. In addition to the possibility of lower fines, small businesses also receive the following benefits:
– Exemptions from Recordkeeping
• Employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from most, though not all, OSHA recordkeeping requirements for recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses.
• OSHA offers free assistance in identifying workplace hazards and establishing or improving safety and health management systems corporation-wide. Employers in high-hazard industries or those involved in hazardous operations receive priority. Largely funded by OSHA, consultation programs are run by state agencies and offer an array of services.
• Key services offered by consultation include help in recognizing workplace hazards, suggested approaches for solving problems, sources of help for further assistance, written reports, assistance in developing or maintenance an effective safety and health management system, and training and education.
• An effective workplace safety and health management system at a small business worksite(s) will enable the small employer to recognize and remove hazards from the worksite, protect workers from injury and illness, prevent loss of life, improve employee morale, and cultivate informed employees.
• An increased understanding of workplace hazards and remedies will put small business managers in a better position to comply with state and federal safety and health requirements, become more effective at their jobs, and increase productivity rates.
Further OSHA Reading and Information
To learn more about OSHA, visit their website at www.osha.gov/dcsp/osba/index.html.
Contact Enforce Coverage Group today at 212-947-4298 to learn more about safety and health assistance, OSHA, and to receive a competitive Workers’ Compensation quote.