The lack of clarity from Washington DC is causing most business owners to play a guessing game. While enforcement of construction-industry regulation increased under President Obama, President Trump said he wants to reduce restrictive regulation. But will he? And what should you do in the meantime?
Will 2016 changes stick?
According to Contractor’s Tool Source, OSHA penalties increased 80 percent last year to catch up from many years of no increases. Now, they’re set to continue rising each year to keep up with inflation. Will the penalties continue? The future is murky with no clear outlook.
The Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation (electronic reporting requirement for businesses with 250+ employees) also was new for 2017. Will it stick? Again, who can say for sure?
OSHA announced a change in the way it conducts inspections, too, from a frequency-based approach to one that favors more rigorous inspections. Whether this will continue or increase citations as dramatically as expected remains to be seen.
Building a culture of safety is your best defense
All this uncertainty is unsettling. But don’t let it consume you. The bottom line is this: The most important thing you can do is to promote a culture of safety within your company, adhere to the current regulations and continue doing what you’re doing to keep your employees safe and well. Here’s a review of some fundamentals:
- Make safety a priority from the top of your organization. That means having your CEO talk about safety and emphasize its importance to workers all the time. It also requires putting resources behind safety enforcement, communication and training.
- Communicate about safety consistently and continuously. You have to keep the topic at the top of workers’ minds, or it will soon fade in importance.
- Empower your workers to hold each other accountable for safety measures. Make EVERYONE responsible.
- Have a clear process in place for promoting, monitoring and reporting safety issues.
Would you pass an OSHA inspection?
If you’re concerned about the effectiveness of your safety program, you might want to get an objective point of view from an outside observer. We partner with a third-party safety consultant who can conduct a mock OSHA inspection for you. These inspections can help you spot weak points and provide ideas for steps to tighten up your safety measures. If you’re interested, please get in touch with me.
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And if you find a crystal ball that works, let me know.