After you’ve had a fall or accident at your facility, a cited safety violation (whether in-house or from OSHA) adds extra sting to an already-distressing situation.
Yet, a safety compliance breach is also a learning opportunity to uncover where your facility or work site stands to improve in terms of employee safety. Also, when it comes to internal or corporate safety compliance, quickly addressing a violation mitigates the damage in the eyes of your superiors.
So, what steps should you take after receiving a safety citation from OSHA or your corporate office? Here are two tips to help you improve future workplace safety compliance after you’ve already been cited.
Tip 1: Commit To Real Change
After a fall, accident or other citation, every enterprise responds differently. Some try to sweep the incident under the rug, while others make a big show of taking corrective action without truly changing their long-term practices. Soon after the dust settles, practices too often return to the way they used to be and a true safety culture never takes root.
When a facility or enterprise takes too long to address safety issues or OSHA compliance, the impact is felt across the entire company. Not only do accident-prone companies garner more negative press, but they also lower employee morale and lose valuable personnel.
Sadly, it usually takes multiple incidents or citations to change a company’s culture, with each citation being treated as an isolated occurrence. For many enterprises, it’s easier to blame the individual, but after 6-10 accidents of a similar nature, blame clearly rests with management.
Blame should never be your answer to a safety violation or citation. Instead, search for a systemic cause or practice in order to address the root cause.
The best response to a citation or violation isn’t to make large, sweeping changes that only have nominal impact. Rather, your facility should commit to real change with regular risk analysis of safety hazards. Set safety goals focused on the human impact of an incident – and not just bottom-line considerations. The result is fewer failed safety evaluations and even fewer citations.
Tip 2: Create Proactive Solutions
Far too many companies evaluate their safety equipment or solutions only after an incident has occurred. But in order to keep your work site compliant, you need to take a more proactive approach to safety solutions.
The majority of safety violations occur because of breach in the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The General Duty Clause states that it’s your company’s responsibility to be aware of best safety practices in your industry and to be aware of how competitors are reacting to their own safety incidents. This is especially pertinent for multi-national enterprises or companies that have recently merged or been acquired.
The General Duty Clause also states that you have an obligation to protect employees from serious or recognized safety hazards even when no OSHA standard exists. In these cases, you’re expected to take whatever actions are reasonable or feasible to eliminate known hazards – or you may be out of OSHA compliance.
Instead of waiting for a corporate or OSHA citation in order to correct your safety hazards, you need to proactively stay up to date with industry best practices for fall prevention and employee safety. Then, search for safety solutions that address as many possible hazards in a single step.
For example, at a rail car terminal, many facility managers aren’t aware there are specialized pieces of equipment to protect employees during the top loading and unloading process. As a result of not being aware of this solution, they find unsafe workarounds that are more likely to result in a citation – or an incident.
Receiving a safety violation from your corporate or OSHA inspector is unsettling. But after the citation, follow these two tips for stronger workplace safety compliance in order to ensure it never happens again.
Need to keep your workplace moving efficiently while meeting corporate and OSHA compliance? Click below to download this industry guide from Carbis Solutions to discover the secrets to a safer – and more efficient – work site.