In 1970, workplace accidents accounted for 14,000 worker deaths and 2.5 million disabled workers. As a result, Congress took action by passing the Occupational Safety and Health Act and creating OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 1971.
Since its inception, OSHA has cut the worker-fatality rate by more than half. Because of the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthy working conditions for workers by enforcing workplace laws and standards, including offering training, outreach, education and assistance.
Seeing these stats today is mind boggling. In the age we live in, we expect our work environments to be safe. We take for granted that our companies care about our well being enough to have safety measures in place – so that we can go home to our families at the end of every day. It seems like common sense, because in addition to keeping your workforce safe, being in compliance with OSHA can save you money. Fewer accidents resulting in injuries and property damage can also mean fewer fines and fewer employees missing work. Here are two real-life examples of OSHA in action and one example of the benefits of compliance.
It seems like common sense, because in addition to keeping your workforce safe, being in compliance with OSHA can save you money.
OSHA Awards $276,000 to Trucker Fired for Refusing to Violate HOS
A driver for NFI Interactive Logistics made the call to stay within compliance of hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, but when he did he was fired for it. In defense of his actions, he filed a complaint with OSHA.
The result? Awards of $276,000 and his job back. Could this have been avoided? If the company had a clearer policy and communication procedures on HOS in times of inclement weather (which is what led the driver to make his decision), perhaps yes.
OSHA Slaps Ohio Auto Parts Plant with $3.4M Penalty
Over the last 20 years, Sunfield—an Ohio auto parts plant—has amassed 118 violations, some of which have resulted in severe injuries to its employees. As a result of failure to address safety hazards, Sunfield has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA found that Sunfield’s leadership failed to properly train workers and created a workplace culture that “routinely tolerated willful and serious safety violations.” This is an example of why the regulations were put in place. With proper training and safety measures, this company could have kept their employees safe and avoided fines.
Safety Culture at T.O. Haas Tire Is Honored by OSHA
Two tire stores in Lincoln, Nebraska were honored in August by OSHA with a Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Award Program (SHARP) certification. This makes 14 total Haas Tire Company stores in Nebraska that have earned the SHARP certification.
This is a company that takes pride in the health and safety of their employees and customers. To maintain their certification they have to undergo periodic recertification which means maintaining the high standards of SHARP.
These three eye-opening examples demonstrate the value of being in compliance with OSHA. Companies like Haas Tire not only avoid the hefty fines that non-compliant businesses face, they build a reputation of caring about safety, which can only be a benefit to a business.