Wouldn’t it just be easier to follow the rules?

Safety rules, that is.  I mean really, wouldn’t it make more sense to follow rules designed to keep employees safe?  If you could avoid accidents, loss of life, damage to equipment and facilities, major fines, lawsuits, downed production time and loss of inventory wouldn’t you do it? Rhetorical question? Maybe, but in reviewing a number of industry magazines and safety items this week, I was totally taken back by the number of safety violations in the news; violations with some pretty disastrous consequences. With safety – especially at the workplace – cutting corners is never an option; or at least it shouldn’t be.

This month, OSHA’s new maximum fines go into effect. Fines are calculated by considering four elements – gravity of the violation, size of the company, good faith effort to comply and history of previous violations. Depending on the factors involved, the new penalties listed range anywhere from just under $9,000 up to almost $125,000. The highest fines go to the “repeat or willful violation” category. Let me say that again; the repeat or willful violation category. It’s scary that companies would willfully violate safety rules or repeat the infractions, but it happens. Hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that anyone would willfully violate safety policies.  Anyway, the hope is that the larger fines will serve as more of a deterrent to companies trying to circumvent the system. On the other hand, it is also important for the penalties to be administered fairly and consistently. Time will tell.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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