At your work site, plant or facility, OSHA often isn’t the only safety regulator you have to worry about, but their regulations do have greater financial consequences if you’re found to be out of compliance.
While internal corporate standards are often stricter than OSHA regulations, high OSHA fines mean you can’t ignore this essential facet of safety compliance at your work site. Here are three quick ways to avoid future OSHA fines at your facility without slowing down your people or projects:
1. Understand The True Impact Of An OSHA Fine
If you have a breach in OSHA compliance, your citation isn’t always paired with a fine. The majority of OSHA citations give you a timeline to take corrective action before any fine is incurred.
The dollar amount of an OSHA fine also depends on the history of any past citations you’ve encountered. Penalties for each serious violation range between $1,500 and $7,000, but that amount can be adjusted downward by as much as 95% based on your facility’s good faith efforts, history of previous violations and the size of your business.
In most cases, smaller businesses and companies with a written health and safety program generally receive reduced fines. On the other hand, if your enterprise has been a serious repeat offender, OSHA fines are larger and consequences harsher.
The true cost of an OSHA fine isn’t usually in the fine itself, but in correlated costs and in time and productivity losses. In fact, the internal paperwork and red tape required by a citation are often a heftier investment than any fine.
When an OSHA official issues a fine, there’s often a resulting civil lawsuit from the injured employee or victim of the incident, and the budgetary fallout of such lawsuits is often much worse than the OSHA fine itself.
Finally, while most companies don’t allow a violation or fine to affect actual production throughput, the costs of maintaining the same level of throughput are much higher after a fine has been issued. These costs are due to a number of factors, including:
- Lower employee productivity
- Decreased morale
- Higher overtime costs
- Increased turnover
- Greater adjustment time to the new compliant process
Consider this example: If a particular area of your manufacturing plant is deemed incompliant, you have to adjust your entire workflow to maintain the current level of production. The new workflow might require you to move an existing piece of equipment or bring in an outside piece of safety equipment. Moving and installing that equipment uses up valuable production and turnaround time. In addition, in order to remain compliant, you might have to assign five employees to the given task instead of the previous one employee who used to do the same task.
All together, the costs of correcting a safety violation add up quickly. So, in order to avoid future OSHA fines, commit to understanding the true impact that such a fine has on your entire business. By keeping the actual cost in mind, you’re more likely to invest in the right safety solution before you’re fined.
2. Analyze The ROI Of A Safety Culture
Far too many companies prioritize their completion of safety tasks based solely on economic cost, assuming that safety solutions aren’t always worth the investment over the long term. However, if you complete a thorough cost and risk analysis, the picture is clear: Investing in a workplace safety culture (and the equipment to accompany it) far outweighs the costs of an OSHA fine or fatal incident.
To determine the true ROI of a given safety solution, you must complete a detailed risk analysis of what might happen to your company if you don’t prepare for a safety accident. While the return on your initial investment might take a longer time to be realized, your bottom line is better off.
Most enterprises don’t take the time to conduct an in-depth analysis; they merely want a quick fix to an apparent need. But, when you have a concrete method to calculate the financial risk of a fall or accident, the choice to invest in a fall prevention solution becomes much easier.
3. Keep Up With Workplace Safety Best Practices
While understanding the true impact of an OSHA fine and investing in a safety culture are both likely to prevent future citations (OSHA or otherwise), the best way to prevent accidents today is to stay abreast with current safety best practices.
Whether your work site needs to shore up its fall prevention, material handling or safe loading practices, you must stay up to date with your industry so your people and projects keep moving profitably.
Avoiding OSHA fines shouldn’t be your only motivation for investing in a wider safety culture at your enterprise, but it certainly serves as a financial incentive. Use these three tips to prevent future fines from slowing down your workflow and your bottom line.
Is your work site as safe as it needs to be in order to avoid OSHA fines and corporate safety citations? Click below to take this online assessment and discover what safety metrics you need to be tracking for a safer workplace.