OSHA & MSHA Compliance

Safety Systems & Solutions, Inc.
412 Main Avenue
P.O. Box 66, Wynantskill, New York 12198
(518) 283-8228, FAX: (518) 283-3331
e-mail: info@safetysystems.com

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OSHA & MSHA COMPLIANCE & YOUR COMPANY SAFETY POLICY (for Contractors)

It is most difficult to operate a competitive and profitable contractor business while maintaining high quality performance.

A loss prevention program is necessary to preserving your profitability, your reputation and most important, to maintaining a safe work environment in compliance with Federal and State safety regulations.

Loss comes in many forms. Job injury is potentially the most expensive in terms of human misery, but also in the very real sense of compensation and insurance costs, and the loss of experienced workers. Then consider the potentially high cost of O.S.H.A. penalties and likely litigation if the job site is found to be out of regulatory compliance.
OSHA may inspect your sites at random but will inspect if:
  1. Employee complaints are received -or-
  2. A serious accident occurs
Your best protection lies in beginning with and maintaining a well-designed safety program. There is some development expense in the start-up but minimal expense in maintaining a good program. These expenses are minor compared with even one injury. All safety program investments are minor compared with today's OSHA penalties.

Considering the diverse nature of contractor safety needs, Safety Systems & Solutions, Inc. offers the following for your consideration. This is a comprehensive "plan of action" some of which may not apply in each instance.

OSHA or MSHA-type audit - We begin with an OSHA-type safety audit of your home facility or quarry to clearly define your regulatory exposures including an evaluation of your safety record-keeping and written policies. Our confidential report is detailed to the specific regulation that may apply. We then consult with you on our findings and determination of areas needing priority safety attention. We can also audit your work sites if you desire.

Risk Abatement then follows. This is a formal schedule of the timing and responsibility for correcting each hazard. You can manage your own risk abatement or we will manage it for you. Remember, this is simply a reasoned, but formal schedule, much of which your own people may accomplish. Extended correction dates require careful explanation such as awaiting the arrival of necessary equipment. Discretionary dating must be avoided, as this may be judged a more serious violation which increases penalties.

We would create, or refine, (with your input) your comprehensive policy which would define your desires regarding employee performance and safety and assure basic OSHA compliance.

Included are:
I. Company statement of policy, values and objectives regarding employee (and sub-contractor) well-being when at work for us.
II. A statement of what the policy is intended to accomplish regarding the safety, health and welfare of employees, building an employee safety awareness and ensuring regulatory compliance.
III. Most policies include, but are not limited to:
  1. Personal protective equipment.
  2. Use and care of company tools/equipment, etc.
  3. Accident/injury reporting.
  4. Responsibility...management and employees at offices and sites.
  5. HazCom programs.
  6. Use (and abuse) of company vehicles
  7. Training requirements and competent site safety qualifications.
  8. Fire safety rules - including smoking rules, drug use, emergency response, etc.
  9. Safe work habits (to be discussed in procedures section).
  10. Housekeeping goals.
  11. Sanctions.
  12. Bloodborne Pathogens.

IV. Policy Development:
We maintain a large inventory of modularized safety policy sections in generic form. These will be customized to your specific needs very cost effectively since we don't keep "reinventing the wheel". Your involvement is necessary to ensure that your objectives and values are reflected in your policy. To a maximum extent, your policy should be specific as to your expectations and requirements for employee safe behavior since without employee support and participation, the best of policies cannot prevent accidents, injuries or other losses.

Our recommendation is that your safety policy exist both in master form and in booklet form for employee and sub-contractor handout. Communication of the policy and training needs to all employees is necessary with periodic refresher sessions as part of your communications program. This is especially important as work picks up and new employees are hired. No one should be permitted to slip through the safety-indoctrination net - the penalties are too high.

V. Sanctions
(enforcement) . . .
Part of your company policy should clearly define its enforcement procedures. Following policy introduction, and as training is accomplished, willful employee violation cannot be tolerated and should be recorded for your protection. OSHA prefers penalties for employee violations.
Training -
The policy must outline required training such as for hazardous material handling, emergency response, use of protective equipment, heavy equipment operation, excavation, ladder/scaffold safety, etc.
Safety Systems & Solutions can either train employees directly or "train the trainer" for your in-house implementation. Some contractors do both since staff safety people may not be qualified in all subjects.
VI. Procedures
  1. As with most construction relation operations, procedures and requirements will vary from site to site. The company policy becomes the guiding outline for procedure but specific compliance must be ensured for each site.
  2. After establishing the line of responsibility for a job site (i.e. General Super, Foremen, etc.), Safety Systems & Solutions (before start-up) will review the job with your management and site supervisors. A "site" safety plan will then be implemented. Eventually your people will learn to do this "site" safety plan using your outline and forms we provide you.
  3. Periodically (and randomly), we would visit each job site to evaluate for continued compliance. At this time any deviations would be corrected and you are furnished with a written report that would detail the inspection results and corrective measures implemented. Your people can learn this procedure for in-house implementation if you desire.
  4. Once your management and supervisor are capable of assuring a "site safety plan", Safety Systems & Solutions would remain the agent for random inspection if you desire.
VII. Safety record keeping -
Your records are the most convincing proof of your continuing safety program implementation. Records of handbook distribution, safety meetings, new employee indoctrination, sanctions, accidents, training accomplished, program updates, subcontractor compliance forms, job site safety plan, and refresher programs should be maintained on a current basis.

VIII. Your SCCP (Sub-Contractor Compliance Program)
As the general contractor, your company has primary responsibility for the safety and regulatory compliance of all personnel on the job site. Sub-contractors often do not comply with site regulations for a variety of reasons, but usually because the general has not required compliance or has not enforced contract language requiring regulatory compliance. A proper sub-contractor agreement will ensure at least shared responsibility.

In all bid offerings to subcontractors, your company must include that sub-contractors and their employees must comply with your safety policies, company procedures, and the "site safety plan". All sub-contractor employees must perform to the same safety standards established for your employees when on your site.

Your sub-contractor should furnish, with his bid, at least a generic statement of compliance, modeled on your company's policy. Once a "site safety plan" is formulated, your company would furnish it to each sub-contractor. Some input from sub-contractors may be needed to finalize a specific "site safety plan" to include requirements for specialty sub-contracted operations.

Just as with your employees, sub-contractor sanctions (enforcement) must be clearly established. If your company requires training of employees in a given area, the sub-contractor's employees will need the same level of training when doing similar work. Safety Systems & Solutions would assist you or the sub-contractor as necessary.

As part of this "SCCP", the line of responsibility must be clear since any vagueness usually accrues to your added legal accountability. As part of its periodic inspection of job sites, Safety Systems & Solutions would monitor your SCCP.

Your bid submissions should include those additional costs associated with safety compliance and require that competitive bidders also do so. Increasingly this should become customary within the construction industry.

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Safety Systems & Solutions, Inc.
412 Main Avenue
P.O. Box 66, Wynantskill, New York 12198
(518) 283-8228, FAX: (518) 283-3331
e-mail: info@safetysystems.com