Expanding the maintenance toolkit for 2015 OSHA standards

Effective as of January 1, the new OSHA standards are designed to help improve workplace safety, in light of statistics showing more than 4,000 workers killed on the job in 2013.
By Smartware Group March 4, 2015

Effective on January 1, 2015, the new OSHA standards are designed to help improve workplace safety, in light of statistics showing more than 4,000 workers killed on the job in 2013. Courtesy: Smartware GroupJanuary 1, 2015 marks the starting date for a new set of regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that will affect many maintenance professionals throughout the United States. The new OSHA standards are designed to help improve workplace safety, in light of statistics showing more than 4,000 workers killed on the job in 2013.

Not only are workplace accidents devastating to employees and families, it is estimated that for every dollar paid for an OSHA violation, companies could spend an additional $50 in increased insurance premiums, lost productivity, retrofitting expenses, or re-training costs. Worse, major corporations may stop doing business completely with certain vendors if OSHA fines cause those vendors to earn an unacceptable rating from insurance companies.

To avoid such problems, first take a look at OSHA’s new regulations for 2015:

  • Employers must notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previously OSHA’s regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees – not a single employee, as will be necessary under the new regulations.
  • The new rules maintain the exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, based on the requirement to routinely keep records of worker injuries and illnesses.
  • All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with OSHA’s new severe injury and illness reporting requirements. To assist employers in fulfilling these requirements, OSHA is developing a Web portal for employers to report incidents electronically, in addition to the phone reporting options.

Now, how can maintenance professionals comply with the new rules?

One of the best strategies to achieve true safety in the workplace is through the use of a modern CMMS in support of persistent preventive maintenance (PM). A CMMS with expanded reporting capabilities can also make it easier for maintenance professionals to comply with OSHA regulations, while helping companies avoid the hidden costs of non-compliance.

For one, an Occupational Safety & Health-enabled CMMS allows maintenance managers to create, track, review, and record incidents while they can also monitor safety programs, including drills, evacuations, Job Safety Analysis (JSA), historical safety meeting notes, and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). In addition, CMMS users can document and archive worker safety measures, including incidents and accidents linked to employees, employee trainings, and certification.An OSH solution within CMMS can aid maintenance professionals in managing safety programs, employee certifications, and more.

Further, a CMMS that offers flexible data views can create safety reports that are sorted according to asset, repair technician, safety standard, or other criteria. If an auditor then questions an incident or exposes a safety risk, the maintenance record can prove that PMs were performed on schedule, and that the incident was a one-time occurrence, where applicable.

Most importantly, using a CMMS to integrate safety protocols into PMs and work orders makes it far simpler to keep safety in its rightful position as a workplace priority – and that, in turn, can keep workers from experiencing injuries and illnesses that can be prevented easily.

A CMMS with all of these capabilities can simplify the job of reporting to OSHA or other governing body in the event of an injury/illness, as well as for a regulatory inspection. If an OSHA inspector follows up on an incident or identifies a safety risk, a CMMS-generated maintenance report will prove that the PM was performed on schedule and new preventive PMs are put in place to prevent future incidents. And as Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

This article originally appeared on Smartware Group Bigfoot Maintenance Software blog. Smartware Group is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, CFE Media, jchang@cfemedia.com