A safety program aligned with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance serves as a crucial foundation for your business. In the United States, it holds a key role in enforcing rigorous safety standards on construction sites. Most successful businesses have programs with an emphasis on cultivating a safe “culture” by ensuring compliance to avoid any OSHA violation.
According to OSHA, in 2020, 4,764 workers died at work. Almost half of these fatal injuries (47.4%) occurred in transportation and material moving occupations (1,282 deaths) and construction and extraction occupations (976 deaths).
Hence, the OSHA requirements for employers stem from the inherent risks associated with construction sites. These workplaces have several dangers such as heavy machinery, elevated workspaces, and electrical wiring. In the absence of adequate safety measures for construction workers, accidents can occur rapidly, resulting in serious injuries, fatalities, and substantial legal ramifications for employers.
In this blog, we will walk through how to avoid common OSHA violations and the OSHA updates you need to be abreast of in 2024.
OSHA Violation: Why Are Compliance Laws Required?
OSHA compliance serves several crucial purposes:
Safeguarding Workers: OSHA regulations are designed to minimize workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, ensuring that employees can return home safely to their families every day.
Legal Obligations: OSHA violation and non compliance can lead to fines and legal actions, imposing huge financial consequences on companies.
Reputation: A steadfast commitment to safety can bolster your company’s reputation. Further, it attracts high-calibre workers and creates repeat business opportunities by effectively marketing the safety program.
Cost-Efficiency: Adhering to OSHA standards and preventing accidents can yield cost savings. It includes reduced compensation claims, medical expenses, and indirect expenses such as equipment downtime, lost productivity, etc. While measuring and calculating indirect costs can be challenging, they can have a significant impact.
How Can You Avoid OSHA Violation In 2024?
Starting in January 2024, new rules regarding injury reporting will come into effect for specific industries, necessitating more comprehensive and detailed reporting practices. Employers must stay informed and ensure compliance with these evolving regulations.
- Electronic Submission Requirements Effective January 2, 2024
Starting in January 2024, OSHA has introduced a significant change in tracking workplace illnesses and injuries. Employers are mandated to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301, enhancing the transparency and accessibility of detailed information on recordable incidents. This requirement applies to both federal OSHA and state plans.
- New Requirements for Large Worksites in High-Hazard Industries
For worksites with 100 or more employees in designated high-hazard industries, additional obligations come into play. Detailed information about each recordable injury and illness, previously retained by impacted industries, must now be electronically submitted to OSHA. This includes data on the date, physical location, severity of the incident, details about the affected worker, and specifics on how the incident occurred.
- Retained Requirements for Larger Establishments
Establishments with 250 or more employees, in industries routinely required to keep records, continue the obligation to submit the OSHA Form 300A Annual Summary.
Although establishments with 100+ employees in higher-hazard industries represent less than 1% of all establishments, they account for nearly 30% of reported injuries and illnesses.
- Scope and Impact of the New Rules
Approximately 50,000 establishments are estimated to be affected by these new rules. This is expected to result in reports on approximately 750,000 injury/illness cases annually.
OSHA plans to leverage this data for targeted hazard identification, direct interaction, and outreach to enhance worker safety. The data will also aid OSHA in analyzing injury trends across industries, processes, and hazards, with a commitment to making most of the information available to the public.
- Electronic Submission Process and Deadline
Employers are required to submit the data through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) annually. The ITA will begin accepting 2023 data on January 2, 2024, and all submissions must be completed no later than March 2, 2024.
Advantages of The New Requirements
Benefits for OSHA:
The data submission provides OSHA with a valuable tool for pinpointing specific hazards. Further, it enables direct interaction through enforcement for hazard mitigation and enhancing overall worker safety.
The collected data also allows OSHA to conduct more in-depth analyses of injury trends within specific industries, processes, or hazards. Data from Forms 300 and 301 ensures more accurate statistics on work-related injuries and illnesses, offering detailed insights into specific occupations and industries.
Benefits for Stakeholders:
The establishment-specific, case-specific injury and illness data is publicly accessible. This transparency allows stakeholders to make more informed decisions regarding workplace safety and health.
Researchers, in particular, gain enhanced capabilities to identify patterns of injuries, illnesses, and hazardous conditions in workplaces. OSHA anticipates that this increased access will reduce occupational injuries and illnesses by fostering a culture of awareness and accountability.
Avoid OSHA Violation By Preparing For Compliance
Attaining and sustaining OSHA compliance necessitates a proactive strategy. The following are the essential steps to ready your business for OSHA compliance:
- Conducting a Safety Audit
Initiate an assessment of your current safety practices to pinpoint areas requiring enhancement. This involves scrutinizing your worksite, equipment, procedures, and safety training programs. If necessary, involve experienced safety professionals or consultants to conduct a comprehensive safety audit.
- Develop a Documented Safety Plan
Draft a written safety plan that articulates your commitment to OSHA compliance. This plan should encompass:
– Safety policies and procedures
– Personnel responsibilities
– Hazard assessment and mitigation strategies
– Emergency response tools such as a safety app
– Record-keeping procedures
Ensure all employees have access to and are acquainted with this safety plan. Regularly update it to reflect alterations in regulations.
- Provide Training
A well-trained workforce is fundamental to safety. Make sure that all employees undergo thorough training on OSHA regulations, equipment usage, and hazard recognition. Along with it, conduct periodic training on using a safety app to keep your workforce prepared to deal with an emergency situation.
- Safety Equipment and Personal Protective Gear
Supply employees with the requisite safety equipment and personal protective gear, including hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, hearing protection, and fall protection gear. Regularly inspect and maintain these items to ensure their continued effectiveness.
The 2024 OSHA requirements regarding the electronic submission of injury and illness data underscore the need for a digitized system of working. Along with strengthening compliance to avoid OSHA violation, businesses are also opting for automating their workflows.
In the case of the construction industry, the primary area of digitizing efforts must be safety. A highly effective strategy is to incorporate an employee safety app. These technologies offer a range of benefits, including real-time employee location tracking, threat escalation features, and rapid response capabilities. With these tools, employers gain the ability to turn employees’ mobile phones into safety tools.
A lone worker safety app significantly reduces the likelihood of safety lapses by providing real-time monitoring and communication tools. This approach enhances OSHA compliance by minimizing the risk of incidents.
In the field services industry, safety is the responsibility of the managers. OSHA compliance acts as a commitment to keeping every worker safe. By following the above requirements in 2024 OSHA compliance, businesses can create a solid safety program.