Be Prepared for OSHA: Demonstrating Safety Culture After a Citation

Originally published by the following source: SBC MagazineJune 25, 2019
by NFC Staff

   

A culture that values safety can be apparent to an OSHA compliance officer (CO) based on how you handle inspections, but what if a CO catches one of your employees in the act of a safety violation before you have a chance to demonstrate that to him? In some cases, a company’s thorough safety record can be demonstrated even after a fine is given – and FrameSAFE can help.

Chris Tatge of Dynamic Construction based in Madison, Wisconsin, has been in the business for 21 years and has seen a lot when it comes to OSHA inspections. Chris recounts a story where his approach to safety and his diligent adherence to the FrameSAFE program paid off for him retroactively. At one of his jobsites, an employee “was working on a second floor exterior deck. He was standing on top of a saw horse hanging drywall on the ceiling with no fall protection with about a 20 foot fall in front of him,” Chris says. A CO saw his employee and took pictures of him in the act.

“I got the phone call, showed up on site, told the CO I had done all the safety training and had been following the FrameSAFE program. He did an official document request, which means I had two weeks to get him all my safety training as it related to that topic. So, I sent in a copy of my FrameSAFE program, I sent in copies of all the Toolbox Talks that the employee had been a part of, where he had been made aware of my expectations for him. I also turned in copies of all of the disciplinary action I had taken against every employee who had a fall protection violation,” Chris says. “I was expecting a $5,000 ticket but instead the CO called me and told me that it was clearly employee negligence and I had done all of the training necessary for him to be aware of my expectations, and they were not going to be issuing a citation.”

Chris’s story is a testament to the value of the FrameSAFE program and the importance of fostering a safety culture in general. It also demonstrates that COs are not necessarily out merely to issue citations without a concern for context. Building a good reputation with COs by demonstrating your knowledge of safety and your thorough training protocol can go a long way in helping you avoid citations and ensure site visits run smoothly.

Ready to welcome OSHA like a pro? FrameSAFE includes an additional training resource, “Guidelines for an OSHA Site Visit,” which was created to assist subscribers in navigating an unannounced visit from an OSHA compliance officer. Get started with your FrameSAFE subscription today and enjoy easy access to your customized safety manual, an extensive Implementation Guide, and a vast library of safety resources through NFC’s new searchable, online dashboard.