This entire blog series was written to educate you on the importance of staying up to date on OSHA standards in the workplace. The safety of your employees, and ultimately, the health of your business depends on it. Last week, we discussed the next steps if you received an OSHA citation. This week, we’ll discuss why it’s important to have a safety plan in the first place and how you can reduce your liability. When running a business, being proactive is so important to keep the doors open. Do you have a safety plan? Why does it need to be maintained regularly? Let’s start by breaking down the importance of a safety plan and why it should always be up to date.
Why do you need to have a safety plan?
First, if you don’t have a safety plan, you need to get one immediately. If you have a safety plan in place, make sure it also includes the current OSHA COVID-19 guidelines. You can learn more about these from our first blog in this series. Generally speaking, you should have a safety plan if you have employees, but you especially need one if you have employees in the construction industry.
You will want to have a safety plan in place for the same reason an attorney tells you to do most things, to limit your liability.
An OSHA inspector’s job is to show up at your office or job site unannounced, and the first thing they will ask for is your written safety plan. If you don’t have your safety plan to give to the inspector, that is your first violation. If you are starting the inspection off with an immediate violation, you can almost guarantee that they will automatically be on high alert to look closely for other violations. In addition, if an OSHA inspection is happening after an accident and you do not have a written safety plan, it is more likely that whatever fine and penalty you receive will not be negotiated or reduced.
If an injured worker sues you, one of the first things you will be asked to provide is the written safety plan given to the injured worker before the injury. If you do not have anything to provide, it will appear as though you don’t care about safety and will look like you were acting negligently. The bottom line is it will cost you more to settle the lawsuit, or a judge or jury will award a larger amount against your company if you don’t have a safety plan because it looks like you do not care about the safety of your employees.
If you are a commercial subcontractor and you sign someone else’s contract, most of the time, those contracts require you to have your own written safety plan. If you don’t have a written safety plan, you are in default under the contract terms.
Update Your Safety Plan
Let us help you reduce your liability and protect your business with a safety plan. Stay up to date on all regulations and changes that could directly affect your company by contacting us today.
How can you reduce your liability?
If you have a written safety plan, you can reduce your liability. A written safety plan that is customized for your business is part of an employee handbook. Make sure you have a custom employee handbook and keep it up to date. We provide this service for a flat fee at The Cromeens Law Firm. Remember, that even if you already have a written safety plan, you are not fully covered. For instance, if the handbook has not been updated since before COVID-19, you will still be at risk and held liable. Under the OSHA rules that were updated for COVID-19, you must have a written safety plan outlining your procedures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Not having this as part of your current safety plan violates the new OSHA rules for COVID-19.
We are up to date on all OSHA requirements, including updates per the pandemic, and are ready to take your questions. If you need assistance with preventative measures to protect your business or need to update your employee handbook, do not hesitate to reach out to our friendly OSHA attorneys at The Cromeens Law Firm. Contact our office and we can provide you with a written COVID-19 safety plan to be signed by all of your current employees and added to your handbook to be received and reviewed by all new employees. Our team of OSHA lawyers is here to help you build a better business and protect what you have worked so hard for. We recently had a webinar covering OSHA in the workplace. If you missed it, check out our YouTube page for the entire recording!