Here at ORR Safety, we live by the creed "Your safety is our focus." That focus applies both to providing workers with equipment that safeguards their health and well-being, as well as encouraging a safety culture that renders personal protective equipment a last resort instead of the first line of defense. Taking necessary safety precautions today will minimize the risk of injury tomorrow. However, injuries aren’t the only risk your business faces; a lapse in safety culture can result in fines, penalties, and prosecution.
Over three decades have passed since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law. The act granted the government a role in creating and enforcing rules to protect the millions of workers who had been exposed to very dangerous conditions and who had been haphazardly trained (if at all) on how to properly protect themselves. Most recently, the Departments of Justice and Labor have begun implementing a plan to work more closely with safety & regulation agencies to crack down on potential violators. The goal is not to frivolously punish companies but to promote the importance of safety in the workplace and to motivate companies who might be falling behind on compliance.
ALL COMPANIES JUDGED EQUALLY
This is a concern for companies of any size. Even some well-known companies have seen themselves on the receiving end of a fine; from a billion-dollar retailer fined for failing to report injuries to a supplier for two major car companies fined $171,000 for repeated violations. If companies with such high level of influence and resources can’t avoid discipline, neither can any of us.
DON'T LET TODAY'S OVERSIGHT COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU
Something else to be aware of is that fines and lawsuits can come for past infractions as well as new. One example is the gas explosion of 2010 involving a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. pipeline; PG&E was not indicted until 2014 and the fine was estimated at $6 million. One key takeaway from this incident is that penalties exist to hold businesses accountable to their communities as much as they exist to provide a safe working environment.
We understand that keeping track of all the rules & regulations, paperwork, and OSHA regulatory changes can be hectic. However, besides saving lives, those steps can also keep a business’ reputation and financial well-being intact. Don’t make the costly mistake of ignoring safety laws. If your business needs any help reviewing the OSHA regulations that apply to your industry, our team of safety experts would love to provide it. Don’t hesitate to contact us anytime by calling or submitting your questions via the form on this page.