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Avoiding OSHA violations

Lucas Deal December 20, 2012

Understanding the potential for violations can help you avoid them.

By Lucas Deal, Associate Editor

lucasdeal@randallreilly.com

You never want to have to shut down your service department due to OSHA citations or violations. Time lost due to violations can take a technician out of a service bay and slow down your turnaround times — hurting your business.

According to Eric Schmitz, vice president of product and business development at KPA Online, every business will deal with OSHA citations at some point in time. The key, however, is knowing what causes those citations, how to quickly correct them and avoid them reoccurring in the future.

OSHA can show up at your door at any time, Schmitz says. You need to be prepared.

One important step in preparing for an OSHA inspection is learning what citations are most commonly cited, and where in your business they can occur. Specific aspects of a service business are more prone to safety risks and must be handled with care.

In November KPA released a list of the 10 most common citations for service providers. Schmitz described the list in detail this month during a KPA webinar, highlighting the areas where any service facility can fall victim to mistakes. He describes the top citations for 2012, and how to avoid them, as follows:

  • Hazard Communication: All hazards must be labeled and a program must be in place with rules for how to handle each possible hazard. An up-to-date inventory should be kept for all chemicals in your facility and technicians should be trained for how to handle and dispose of hazards.
  • Respiratory Protection: A written program that details your safety plan is necessary and must be followed. You also should provide how to wear respirator training for technicians.
  • Unguarded Machinery (Parts Grinder): Everything must have a safety shield. Grinders are a common citation because technicians can remove the shield when working. It must be on the grinder at all times.
  • Electrical Safety Requirements: Cords and outlets must be up to specifications. Do not allow any frayed wires or overloaded circuits in your facility.
  • Powered Industrial Trucks: All employees with access to lifts and in-house equipment must be trained, and equipment must be inspected for safety requirements. Seat belts are necessary.
  • Exit Routes and Emergency Action Plans: Described as the proper plan for exiting your facility in the case of an emergency event. Serious violations and injuries can occur here if you are not prepared.
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