Running a manufacturing facility is a little like driving: No matter how safe you try to be, you’re probably breaking rules all the time.
There’s so much going on and things are moving so fast, it’s easy to lose sight of the speedometer, or let that inspection lapse by a week or two. It’s also to forget to properly label that scaffolding or forget to fill out some incident report paperwork.
With that in mind, below are some commonly overlooked OSHA standards.
OSHA cites respiratory protection as one of the areas that generate the most compliance violations. This genre includes the use of masks when working with toxic chemicals.
Sometimes these issues come up because people don’t know the extent of OSHA rules. For instance, All One Health reports the agency requires employees to be clean-shaven in certain situations, so that the mask fits tightly against the face. In these circumstances, a violation can technically occur with more than one day’s growth of facial hair, the website reports.
The key to these kind of violations is knowing the extent of the rules beforehand. Not all OSHA regulations will be obvious or common sense. They might also change over time – the rule setting one day’s growth of facial hair as the limit came from an interpretation issued in 2014. It’s key to stay up-to-date and read (and understand) all provisions that affect your workplace.
Working In High Places
As with the issues surrounding respiratory protection, many of the compliance issues involving falls comes from the details.
Preventing falls is such a priority for OSHA that four of the agency’s top 10 most-cited standards involve this area. Fall protection, scaffolding, ladder usage and safety training for fall protection are all frequent issues for companies. Many of these involve construction sites – where ladders and scaffolding can get built in some precarious places. But manufacturing facilities come up often, as well.
Training makes up a big part of this issue for manufacturing firms. Make sure you properly communicate protocols for climbing and working at unusual heights. Also, make sure the procedures are being followed in all cases – don’t let a busy schedule lead to cutting corners.
Another issue where confusion over the rules plays a role in OSHA compliance: Confined spaces. Sometimes this comes up because companies don’t realize a particular part of the factory meets the definition of a confined space.
In other situations, the risk factors for a particular space aren’t fully mapped out. Safety and Health Magazine quotes a story from safety consultant Namir George in which a company didn’t realize the equipment in a particular spot was outdated and therefore altered the risk assessment of a particular part of the facility. That is, until a fire broke out.
Review all areas of your facility in light of the regulations. Any updates or changes should be made with the same scrutiny in mind, so that everything stays in compliance as conditions change.
It’s easy for wires and plugs to become a dangerous snake’s nest. OSHA lists electrical and wiring methods as another of its 10 most-often-cited violations. Most of these come as a result of extension cord use.
It’s easy to see how these situations get out of hand. Personal items, like fans, phones or radios, add to the tangle of plugs. Meanwhile, you might move around or add equipment from time to time, using what seems like the most convenient plug once you’ve made the change. It’s easy for supposedly temporary situations to stay temporary for so long they become routine.
A good way to stay in compliance with OSHA standards is to have a well-trained and knowledgeable workforce to help you. PrideStaff can help you bring in and develop these value-added workers. Contact Oregon’s top recruiters today to find out more about how they promote strong safety habits.