There are a myriad of benefits to adhering to workplace safety laws. The first and foremost is the health and productivity of your employees. Beyond that is your company's reputation and finally, there is the financial side to consider. Violations of these laws and regulations can be costly, ranging in the tens of thousands of dollars simply for a citation (then there are other costs such as potential lawsuits).
It's far better to learn about and comply with workplace safety laws and regulations at the start than to try to pick up the pieces after there's been an accident at your office, warehouse or store. The SBA breaks this topic out into four separate resources. We'll touch a few of them, highlighting how your business might best make use of each one.
Most businesses operating in any industry have heard of OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. So have most employees. Understanding OSHA's regulations is crucial to compliance, and this portal can help because it breaks out information by general industries, the construction industry, and healthcare.
Let's look at an example regulation in the construction industry. OSHA covers regulations in the following areas:
- Stairways and Ladders
- Trenching and Excavation
- Motor Vehicle Safety/Highway Work Zones
As a construction employer, you're expected to provide for the safety of your employees in all of these areas. OSHA's compliance website helps you to ensure that you, as a business owner, are protecting your employees, your reputation and safeguarding your finances.
State by State Guide
Just as there are regulations and compliance procedures for separate industries, so too may your state have specific requirements in order to attain and maintain compliance with workplace safety laws. As an example, let's consider Utah's state page. You can find information on everything from specific regulations, organized vertically by industry, to how to comply, as well as contact information and special compliance programs.
Training for Safety
So you've spent some time reading up on the regulations that pertain specifically to your state and industry. That's great! But just because you now know how to keep employees safe doesn't mean they know for themselves. They might be new to the industry or it may have been awhile since they first learned about on-the-job training. Something might have changed or they might just be rusty.
The point is, part of becoming and remaining a compliant business is training and educating your employees to preserve their own safety on the job and to promote the safety of their coworkers. This site is a great resource to begin doing just that, and will help you to cover the basics to get your employees to a level where they're not only practicing safe procedures, but teaching others to do the same. After all, you can't be everywhere at once--share the knowledge and reap the rewards of being health and safety compliant.