By Cheryl Higley
Given the often dangerous conditions in which snow and ice professionals work, safety must be an integral part of a company’s best practices. However, accidents can happen. In some circumstances, these instances can trigger an OSHA safety audit. Following are a few tips on audits as well as how to be prepared in the event of one:
- Employers with more than 10 employees and whose establishments are not classified as a partially exempt industry must record work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301. Employers who are required to keep Form 300, the Injury and Illness log, must post Form 300A, the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, in a workplace every year from February 1 to April 30. Even if your company isn’t large enough that an OSHA log is required, it is good practice to do so. OSHA logs must be retained for at least 5 years.
- In the event of an accident that triggers a workmen’s compensation claim, expect a visit from OSHA to review documentation and assess your operation’s safety protocols.
- Using OSHA-rated safety equipment, ensuring your team members complete OSHA 10 safety training, and having an updated safety program reflects well on your company and shows your commitment to safe operations in the event of an audit.
- Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act), OSHA can conduct an audit without advance notice so it is vital that all records are kept up to date and at the ready.
- A commitment to safety must start at the top, with management providing the resources and support to ensure their workers’ safety and health is top of mind. Whether in the office, in the shop or in the field, it is vital to identify existing and potential worksite hazards and work to eliminate them. Given the nature of the work, if it is not feasible to eliminate the hazards, they must be controlled to prevent unsafe and unhealthful exposure. Establish safe work practices and procedures that are understood and followed by all affected parties. Train on those practices, be vigilant in enforcing them.
Learn more about OSHA safety regulations, including OSHA Form 300, and the audit process at www.osha.gov. Keep in mind that snow and ice management is often categorized as “other” so information may be hard to come by. A call to your state’s OSHA office might be in order to ensure you have the correct information.