Protect your company and your employees from safety violations & potential accidents.

Labor & Industries released their 2018 Top 10 Violations list for construction jobsites. With inspectors always visiting jobsites (more than 13,000 times last year alone), it pays to take a few minutes to think about how your company measures up in the following areas:

1. Accident prevention program (safety plan)
2. Fall protection
3. Ladder use
4. Asbestos, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite
5. Tools-hand and power
6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)-head protection
7. Scaffolding
8. Management’s responsibility
9. General protection requirements
10. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)-construction

Violations in any of these areas generally result in mandatory minimum fines of $1,000 to $7,000 each-depending on the severity, each violation can be up to $13,260. Fines quickly multiply based on the severity of the violation, the likelihood that a worker will be injured, and in cases of a willful or repeat violation.

For example, let’s say you have an employee working 30 feet in the air with little documented training and improper fall protection. You’re looking at a fine up to $13,260. If your company gets cited five more times for this within three years, your next fine for a single occurrence can be up to $132,598.

The bottom line is that it’s not unusual to see fines in the tens of thousands of dollars, with several each year costing $100,000 or more. An ineffective safety program can put your company out
of business.

 

While there may be ten most-frequently cited violations, your company only needs to focus on three focal points to protect itself and its employees from safety violations and potential accidents:

1. EMPLOYERS: Safety must run through the company, top down and bottom up. Know what safety rules pertain to your business and how to comply with them. Train employees so they know the importance of safety and understand why the rules are in place.
2. EMPLOYEES: Each team member must be accountable and comply with company safety rules. Consider selecting a different employee each week to make sure everyone in each crew is following safety rules.
3. SUPERVISORS: Leaders must hold workers accountable but should not babysit crews. Safety needs to be everyone’s responsibility.

With these focal points in place, your company will go beyond just reading a manual for ten minutes and signing a form. You’re building a safety culture with clear expectations because, at the end of the day, all citations are preventable-you just need training and accountability.

 

When it comes to launching a safety program, start with the basics:

ACCIDENT PREVENTION PROGRAM (APP)
This bit of documentation is required by law for every employer. Writing it, implementing it with training, and enforcing it are the first steps. This will prevent your company from being cited for the No. 1 violation in the state – lack of an APP- and receiving a $2,000 to $3,000 fine.

 

SAFETY MEETINGS
Require safety meetings every time you open a new jobsite and weekly thereafter.

 

SAFETY TRAINING
Provide training programs for any hazards your employees are exposed to, such as fall protection or new tool use training.

 

ENFORCEMENT
Ensure that disobeying a safety rule results in immediate discipline and documentation, but also take time to talk with employees about why the rules are in place and thank them when they do the right thing.