So You Have a Small Business? OSHA is Still Watching!

image of two constructions workers. One is looking straight into the photo. Text over image says, "OSHA is still watching."

Time was that OSHA wouldn’t mess with any company that had fewer than 10 employees. Times have changed! If your small company is engaged in certain types of business – especially if your business has the potential to cause a catastrophic occurrence – you’re on OSHA’s radar!

The fertilizer company in West, Texas that experienced the explosion of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in 2013 employed only eight workers. Since the explosion was responsible for the deaths of volunteer firefighters who rushed to the scene and destroyed or seriously damaged hundreds of homes, schools, and businesses in the small central Texas town, OSHA has changed their position on smaller companies.

Basically, OSHA has the authority to inspect ANY business that operates on US soil – regardless of size. If your business is a dental practice with only three employees, OSHA is not likely to target you for an unannounced compliance audit. However, if your small company is engaged in the transport of hazardous materials on public roads, the possibility of an unannounced compliance audit by OSHA increases exponentially…

3 Reasons OSHA Might Knock on Your Door

Aside from the type of business you do, there are three other reasons why OSHA might knock on your door:

  1. Your company experiences a fatality accident.
  2. A catastrophic event results in three or more employees being treated at a hospital.
  3. A disgruntled employee lodges a complaint with OSHA. Whether or not the complaint is valid, you will likely be contacted by OSHA for a response.

Some state OSHA organizations like California have reporting rules that are much more stringent that federal OSHA. To avoid an unpleasant (and costly) interaction with OSHA in your state, it pays to know your state’s regulations regarding reporting of serious injuries.

Like the famous football coach Vince Lombardi said, “The best defense is a good offense.”

Being aware of the OSHA standards with which your business must comply is a good first step. Having a written safety program that contains rules for your employees to follow in all work situations will help ensure compliance with OSHA standards. Holding employees, supervisors, and managers accountable when the rules are broken will also serve your business well should OSHA get involved.

If you’re not sure where you stand with OSHA in your state, Employers Resource can help! Our Safety Managers assist all our clients with compliance programs and employee training materials that meet or exceed OSHA requirements. We perform safety audits at client locations to first determine what OSHA standards apply and then to develop and implement safety programs that help ensure compliance. To learn more about how Employers Resource can assist your business in being OSHA compliant, give us a call.

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