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Facility management is more than just avoiding downtime. Maintenance managers need to understand health and safety standards and how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces them.

And they need to know how facility management software makes avoiding costly violations and fines easier.

How does OSHA set health and safety standards?

OSHA is responsible for setting and enforcing safety and health standards for private and public sector employers and workers in the US. The agency also provides training, outreach, education, and assistance services.

The agency requires that employers provide their employees with a safe, hazard-free, and healthy work environment. To comply, companies must find and correct safety issues. While some OSHA standards are industry specific, the following are examples of standards that apply more generally:

  • Supply safety goggles, masks, and hard hats to workers
  • Make first aid kits available
  • Maintain clean air ventilation systems
  • Provide training on ladder and scaffold use
  • Provide training on the safe use of facility equipment

OSHA requires that all employers comply with these other broad standards, including:

  • Prominently display official OSHA requirements
  • Inform workers of hazards
  • Maintain accurate work-related injury and illness records
  • Perform workplace safety and illness testing
  • Provide workplace protective equipment to employees at employers’ cost

The agency looks after more than just safety onsite. It also ensures that organizations do not retaliate against workers exercising their right to a save workplace.

 

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How does OSHA enforce health and safety standards?

OSHA compliance officers conduct routine facility inspections without advance notice. Among other things, compliance officers present themselves to the facility manager and together, they walk through the facility and inspect it for hazards. After completing the inspection, the compliance officer discusses their findings with the managers. If OSHA violations are found, they issue a citation and/or a fine outlining the specific issues, how it can be addressed, and timelines and dates for completion. To get a sense of the fines levied: maximum fines for minor and major violations was $13,260 with $132,590 for repeat violations.

What are the top 10 OSHA violations?

While the following may not apply to all companies, these were identified as the top ten OSHA violations levied in 2020:

  • Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
  • Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  • Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
  • Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
  • Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
  • Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
  • Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
  • Fall protection–training requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)
  • Eye and face protection (29 CFR 1926.102)
  • Machinery and machine guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)

How can you avoid OSHA violations?

Maintenance managers and their teams need to invest time and energy in adhering to OSHA safety and health standards to ensure a safe work environment. Here are some examples of ways to avoid problems, and how a modern CMMS software solution helps make life easier.

Fall Protection

Proper training provides the most effective protection against falls. However, in addition to training, there are other safeguards that can also be implemented. First, facility management software can identify workers that are certified to operate certain equipment, making it easy for you to ensure you’re assigning the right employees to the right work orders, keeping you compliant with OSHA standards.

Also, maintenance managers must provide workers with appropriate safety gear to operate equipment that could potentially pose a safety risk. When it comes to fall protection, these include harnesses, gloves, and anchors. A CMMS can be used to inventory these safety items as well as their locations so that techs can easily find them when they need them.

Hazard Communication

To ensure that employees are up to date in their safety and health training, proper records are essential. Records should include employee profiles that identify relevant training and certificates. All this data can be stored and retrieved quickly using modern facility management software, where critical information is stored in a central database that lives offsite, ensuring everything is safe, secure, and accessible. Unlike traditional paper and spreadsheet record-keeping, modern solutions have all your data in on spot, making it much easier to keep everything up to date.

Machine Guarding

Installing machine guards is essential, but it is also important that you regularly inspect and maintain them to ensure you’re providing the intended protection.

Preventive-Maintenance-Work-Order2

By setting up, scheduling, and tracking a preventive maintenance program, you can ensure inspections and tasks never fall through the cracks. For example, you can add regular PMs to inspect machine guards on specific assets.

Personal Protection and Lifesaving Equipment (PPE)

In some situations, you need masks, while in others, you need goggles or gloves. Lifesaving equipment may include basic first-aid kits, but in some environments, it may also require chemical eye or skin washes. Regardless of a company’s industry or facility set up, the equipment required must be always on hand.

There’s a lot to track, and it’s all critical. Maintenance managers can help ensure techs have what they need and are using the PPE properly by including step-by-step instructions and checklists in every on-demand and scheduled work order.

CEO summary

On top of having effective maintenance management operations aimed at optimizing production and profits, organizations must also provide a safe and healthy work environment. And it’s more than a simple responsibility; it’s a legislated requirement.

Maintenance management must be holistic in its approach, incorporating OSHA safety and health standard practices into their ongoing routines. For example, they can use facility management software to track training and certificates, ensuring the right employees are doing the right tasks. The software also helps maintenance managers ensure employees have easy access to the right equipment, including safety harnesses and anchors. For machine guarding, they can set up, schedule, and track a preventive maintenance program with inspections and tasks to check guardrails on assets.

Let’s get you to the next step

Ready to set up a program to help you avoid costly OSHA violations?

Hippo is here to help you make it happen with the right facility management solution, including answering your questions about maintenance strategies (and everything else related to maintenance and compliance), helping you book a live software demo, or even setting you up with a free trial.

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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