Do you train your employees on the ins and outs of workplace safety? Do you sit them down and discuss the importance of keeping a safe workplace? Maybe you show them videos, like this gem / pseudo snuff film from 1998 (warning, not for the squeamish).
While I don’t suggest you need to scare (all) of your employees with simulated violence and gore, I cannot overstate the importance of regularly training your employees on safety. For starters it’s a good idea. Training results in fewer injuries and illnesses, better employee morale, and lower workers’ compensation premiums.
Moreover, in many cases required training is the law.
There are over 200 different OSHA standards that require an employer to train its employees. Given that OSHA’s penalties are set to increase this summer by an estimated 80 percent, can you afford not to train your employees? Can your business afford a $12,600 penalty (the soon-to-be amount for a serious violation) for each instance of failed training? Or, if OSHA deems your omission to be willful, how about $126,000 per?
Do you need more convincing? Here are some exemplar OSHA penalties from its archives … before the increase in penalties.
- OSHA cited a Cleveland manufacturer of fabricated components with 15 alleged safety violations, with penalties totaling $149,250. Of those citations, four were willful with penalties of $140,000 for failing to train workers on recognizing hazardous energy sources and control methods, and the other 10 were serious citations with penalties of $9,250 for failing to develop training programs for working with hazardous chemicals and failing to train workers in the use and wear of personal protective equipment.
- OSHA cited an Ohio shock absorber manufacturer with 13 safety and health violations, including failing to train its workers to recognize unsafe electrical work practices, with penalties totaling $151,300.
- OSHA cited yet another Ohio company, a wood pallet manufacturing plant, for a lack of a hearing conservation program, with penalties totaling $101,000, including a serious violation in failing to provide workers with hearing conservation training.
Despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of the gory video in the lede, employee safety training is no laughing matter. As these examples of citations and penalties illustrate, OSHA takes a lack of training very seriously, and you should too.