November 14, 2018 0

How to stay on top of OSHA changes

Posted by:Bridie Kruck onNovember 14, 2018

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations do not change too frequently. But when they do, it can be costly and challenging to keep up with them. But for better or for worse, not staying up to date can have dire consequences. It is imperative that you abide by the latest regulatory requirements.

Here are 5 simple ways to ensure that you stay on top of OSHA changes.

  1. Tap into the available resources

Keeping up with OSHA regulations used to be far more difficult. Today, there are plenty of great resources right at your fingertips. You should make it a point to review changes on a regular basis, at least monthly.

For one, each spring and fall, the Department of Labor publishes in the Federal Register a list of all regulatory projects underway. The Regulatory Agenda provides a projected schedule for these projects to inform stakeholders of the Agency’s regulatory priorities and enable interested parties to take advantage of opportunities to participate in the regulatory process. Current and past issues of the Regulatory Agenda can be accessed on OSHA’s Law and Regulations page.

From here it is easy to determine where OSHA will focus their energy. Navigating changes with OSHA is as simple as knowing what they plan to change.

  1. Get a Safety Professional

If you don’t already have a safety professional on staff, this would be a good time to hire someone or designate someone competent in-house with the responsibility. If either of these two options are off the table, consider a reputable consultant to help. If you don’t put someone in charge, the tendency will be to procrastinate and not implement necessary changes for compliance.

This person should be responsible for not only ensuring the company is in compliance with established regulations, but also monitoring the OSHA regulatory agenda, developing written safety plans/policies, training programs, as well as tracking injuries and accidents. They should also be working closely with employees to make sure working conditions are up to industry standards.

  1. Take Advantage of OSHA Safety Training Programs

OSHA offers training programs and other resources for employees. While some training topics are mandated and are up to the employer to ensure they are provided, others are strongly recommended. Get your safety professional or designee to look at the safety programs and determine which topics are most applicable and relevant to your business.

Along with a variety of online training providers, there are approved OSHA Training Institutes that are responsible for administering OSHA-approved training topics, such as the 10-hour and 30-hour Voluntary Outreach Training programs. OSHA should look favourably at a company that’s taking advantage of their resources and will see that you’re taking matters seriously.

  1. Put a Priority on Regular Safety Meetings

Everyone on your team needs to have a clear understanding of OSHA standards that apply to their work. Therefore, even if your safety professional/designee and top-level employees have a clear understanding of what’s involved, if you don’t have buy-in from front-line employees and supervisors, it can be a challenge trying to enforce compliance.

Holding regular safety meetings is a good way to ensure everyone is on the same page. Discuss recent safety developments, past challenges and come up with solutions to prevent any problems that might arise in the future.

  1. Fit Compliance Around Your Company Structure

Not every company is set up the same. Smaller organizations may not have the ability to have one designated safety professional. The head of Human Resources or Risk Management may be largely responsible for compliance. And, in a larger organization, you may have several safety professionals.

The key to success is to fit your safety program to your company structure.

As previously mentioned, smaller organizations should take advantage of the many resources that are available. This is especially the case if HR is handling safety issues, as they may not have the time and knowledge necessary to create a suitable safety program. Larger organizations should have a safety professional who has had formal training and certifications as well as a clear understanding of OSHA and should be able to create a safety plan that meets their needs.

Conclusion

Many changes are still in the early stages of development. Future revisions are expected to affect the following areas, so take note: Communication Tower Safety, Emergency Response and Preparedness, Mechanical Power Presses Update, Powered Industrial Trucks, Lockout/Tag-out Update, Tree Care Standard, Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Assistance, and Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica; Revisions to Table 1 in the Standard for Construction.

Using the above tips, you should be able to maintain compliance with the latest regulatory requirements.

Blaine J. Hoffmann, MS OSHM is a leader in the field of workplace safety and health. With over 20 years of industry experience, a decade as a corporate consultant, business owner, coach and a podcaster he has become highly proficient at designing, implementing and sustaining organizational management systems. Blaine is consistently on the cutting-edge of safety best-practices and industry standards. Click here to read more from Blaine on LinkedIn.

 

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