“Some companies only try to do the bare minimum in each state,” observed Phil Casto, senior vice president for Risk Services at Hub International. Too often, they see the avoidance of an OSHA citation as their benchmark. “It is hard to change (workplace) culture. Initially, it might seem burdensome to implement the higher standard.”
According to Casto, companies should be able to justify “raising the bar” in their corporate safety programs through reductions in accidents, workers comp, overtime, and replacement hiring. Often, attention to improved ergonomics, for example, can also lead to productivity improvement and reduced absenteeism.
There may be resistance to change in certain regions. For this reason, Casto stresses the importance of having a strong management team from the risk management perspective, one which will explain and sell the importance of taking a proactive approach that may exceed local expectations. Such an approach is critical to winning over a resistant culture.
At a high achieving site, Casto said, internal audits are performed consistently, and all employees perform hazard recognition in the course of their daily duties.
(Cont'd on Page 10)
Deal Proa conference,” Casto advised. “Compliance officers can make mistakes.”
The employer should bring in documentation to support their case on their safety system and investments they have made to improve it, and try for a dismissal. If no one was hurt, they can try to reduce the gravity of the citation. Usually, there is a middle ground that can be found.
Another tact Casto suggests is asking OSHA to forgive the financial penalty and allow the company to invest that money instead in improving its safety program.
Ultimately, Casto noted that even an excellent program can receive a citation. Of greater concern is the issue of frequency. If a company has had only one in 30 years, it is an entirely different situation than if a company has received several in a short span of time.
Managing Safety Risks in Multi-State Companies, and Acting Quickly to Mitigate OSHA Citations
“Some companies only try to do the bare minimum in each state,” says Phil Casto, senior vice president for Risk Services at Hub International. Too often, they see the avoidance of an OSHA citation as their benchmark.
Increasingly, pallet companies are establishing operations in multiple states, which may have different or conflicting workplace safety requirements. Such variations can leave companies to question how to best manage health and safety for their various locations. While an emphasis near-term cost control might suggest that the bare minimum in each state is the best path forward, there are benefits to raising all operations to the level of the state with the highest compliance expectations.