We were priveleged to have had a face to face meeting with Director Michaels of OSHA earlier this year.
We brought up the topic of harsh regulatory tone.
Director Michaels characterized the agency as ‘small and needing strong means to remain effective.’
We congratulated him on the agency’s success at portraying themselves as aggressive regulators.
The OSHA website has this to say:
“OSHA is a small agency; with our state partners we have approximately 2,200 inspectors responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers, employed at more than 8 million worksites around the nation – which translates to about one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers.”
Before getting too sympathetic, a review of some facts might be in order:
Actually average proposed penalties are up by 102%
OSHA Budget is up!
FY 2011: $573,096,000
FY 2012: $583,386,000
Although by Washington DC standards a little over half a billion dollars and an increase of $10.3 million dollars probably doesn’t seem like much money at all.
“Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, recently stated that the higher penalties are still too low when compared to other regulatory agencies. He defended the higher penalties as an important tool in OSHA’s overall efforts to increase enforcement. In our view, this increase comes as no surprise and employers can expect even higher penalties in 2012 and beyond. “
OSHA seems to be taking this size thing to heart!
Since higher penalties remain an important tool and are still too low, and since OSHA cannot practically visit all 7 million workplaces it makes sense for employers to proactively address OSHA compliance.
When OSHA arrives, they will be itchin’ to do a great job.
The first place to start would be how does a small agency prioritize its enforcement resources?
1. Imminent danger situations—hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm— receive top priority.
2. Fatalities and catastrophes—incidents that involve a death or the hospitalization of three or more employees—come next.
3. Complaints—allegations of hazards or violations also receive a high priority.
4. Referrals of hazard information from other federal, state or local agencies, individuals, organizations or the media receive consideration for inspection.
5. Follow-ups—checks for abatement of violations cited during previous inspections—are also conducted by the agency in certain circumstances.
6. Planned or programmed investigations— inspections aimed at specific high-hazard industries or individual workplaces that have experienced high rates of injuries and illnesses— also receive priority.
For more on these inspection priorities consult the OSHA Fact Sheet link below.
Back to Basics!
Train your people in
Personal Protective Equipment,
Right To Know Haz Comm,
Slips Falls Tripping Hazards,
Powered Industrial Trucks ,
Electrical- Wiring and General,
You can intelligently manage your risk of OSHA Enforcement and penalties by asking yourself these three questions and then doing something about them:
Do you have a process for managing safety?
Is it followed?
Is it effective?
As employers we have a general duty to maintain a safe workplace. Let’s take our duty seriously. You know the folks from OSHA will.
Summary: A change in the interpretation of the word ‘FEASIBLE’ by OSHA could cause all shop owners whose shops noise level exceeds 85 dB to be REQUIRED by OSHA under this new definition to install expensive engineering or administrative controls to abate the noise to levels below the action level. PPE could no longer be acceptable as the sole means of addressing noise exposure in our shops. Action You Need to Take:
1) Determine the noise level in your shop to see if it exceeds 85dB TWA.
2) Determine cost to install noise guarding on machines necessary to abate noise levels to below 85dB (engineering control)
3) Determine how many machines must be taken out of service at a time to prevent the noise level from exceeding the 85dB level ( administrative control )
4) Perform a business case analysis to see if your company can remain in business if this change to the definition becomes law, requiring you to purchase sound dampening or reduce production.
5) Document the cost to comply, loss of jobs, and any reduction in competitiveness, capacity or other issue that is a result.
6) Send to Miles Free gro.apmp@eerfm so that I can include in PMPA’s formal comments.
7) Send a letter to the Docket for comments on this proposed change in interpretation as well as one to your congressman and please copy PMPA.
Submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov. Individuals who mail or deliver comments must submit three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2010-0032, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Submissions not longer than 10 pages may be faxed to 202-693-1648 Don’t delay.
PMPA and other metalworking associations requested, and received an extension on the Comments deadline so that we could obtain facts needed to properly assess the consequences of this new interpretation. Comments are now due by March 21, 2011. We need your facts to make our case! We need your data now to effectively represent you on this potentially shop closing issue. All data that we have seen from Member shops so far has shown that these shops will need to add sound dampening equipment.
Links: Extension letter: Notice of Proposed Reinterpretation: PMPA Extension Request Letter: The shop (and machininst jobs) you save may be your own.
Thanks to Tim Waters via LinkedIn Goups for the great thought-starter Question!
1) Be sincere and respectful when employees engage you. 2) Determine their PASSION, then allow them more degrees of freedom and discretion in that area. 3) Join them in their world. Have huddles in their space. Be present where the action is.
As managers and executives it’s easy to listen to an employee’s ‘issue’ and think- “Well that’s about the most unimportant thing that I have heard and I’m not going to waste my time on it.” But in the employee’s world that issue or need just might be the speed bump that keeps them from running the process profitably. Listen and respect what they have to say to you, if they have taken the time to share it with you, it is important to them. How can we not trust someone with what we know is their passion? Letting someone operate at their highest and best use is win-win-win for all involved. It’s what the folks in the Pentagon refer to as a “Force Multiplier.”
Being a presence on the shop floor means that you have more and better information. And that you are approachable, that you care. WARNING: If you are in our space and aren’t wearing the Personal Protective Equipment that you make us wear, you will lose our engagement because of the hypocrisy. Show us that you are one of us by your actions, not just your words.
Employee engagement is powerful. What tips would you like to share to help us better engage with each other at work and in the shop? Cartoon
Safety- What You Can Do Today To Make Your Company The Most Money?
No one can afford the wasted money and lost time that result from accidents and injuries at work.
No one wants the increased scrutiny by officials that is sure to follow a serious accident.
No one wants to see anyone senselessly hurt. 3 Things You Can Do Today:
Hold your people accountable to work safely. Starting with you. Wear your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when you are out in the shop. Why be a hypocrite? Don’t turn a blind eye when you notice them without their PPE. Let them know that their safety is important to you.
Train your people to understand the hazards, know when to get assistance, and why the guards and precautions are needed. Follow up to make sure that they understand. And listen to, and then take action,on their feedback.
Note to operators- nobody wants you to get hurt. Your talent, knowledge, diligence, and professionalism are the foundation of our industry’s success. And why our car’s brakes work. And the landing gear deploys on the airplanes we fly. And why the electricity gets safely to our homes.Your work makes other technologies work. Safely.Work smart, don’t take risks. No shortcut is worth losing a body part. Get training-not hurt.
All of us are creatures of habit, doing the things each day that we habitually do. We need to let the power of these habits work for us. Let’s make safety first a habit that keeps our shops and people both safe and productive. Making safety first is ‘What you can do to make your company the most money.’