Since 2007, 15,000 U.S. workers were treated for automotive lift, jack, or jack stand injuries, causing OSHA to implement a new program to inspect, identify, and evaluate lift safety in the auto industry. A local emphasis will be placed on the Hawaiian region beginning in July 2013.
Inspections will be conducted at randomly selected sites within the auto industry, including automobile dealers, automotive repair, accessories, and tire stores. OSHA will also respond to complaints, referrals, and incident related facilities.
Does your facility have a policy to only allow escorted customers into the vehicle service area? What’s the policy at your facility? Do you forbid customers to enter the vehicle service area? Do you allow them in on their own? Or do you allow them to be escorted into the vehicle service area? These decisions may seem minute, but in reality they play a huge roll in safety of your employees and your customers. (more…)
PPE Hazard Assessments, otherwise known as Personal Protective Equipment Hazard Assessments, are required at all auto facilities. What are they? PPE Assessments evaluate any hazards that may exist in your shop, what your employees do on a regular basis, what they’re exposed to, and what personal protective equipment they are required to wear.
It is possible to write your own Hazard Assessment, or, some companies, such as KPA, will provide Hazard Assessments for you. (more…)
Not every dealership has a forklift onsite, but if you do, you are subject to the OSHA Powered Industrial Truck regulations. Review your OSHA paperwork and make sure you are compliant with the following laws:
If you have forklift, you are required to have a written training program that spells out how you will ensure safe forklift operation at your facility. This should be kept on hand for an OSHA inspection.
Forklift training must be completed onsite, at your facility, using your forklift. This ensures that training is done with the same equipment employees will be using, as well as any circumstances that may be unique to your dealership.
An evaluation of each forklift operator’s performance must be conducted at least once every three years, or more often if they have had an accident, or are observed driving the forklift in an unsafe manner. This includes driving, safety and requirements, and procedure training.
Any attachments must have documented approval for the forklift model by the manufacturer.
A basic forklift inspection should be conducted at the beginning of every shift.
Keep your files up to date and your employees trained to avoid OSHA forklift fines!
Employees have a right to report alleged non-compliance to federal and state agencies without fear of retaliatory firing or demotion- no ifs, ands, or buts. A violation of an employee’s protected conduct of reporting potentially illegal or dangerous circumstances, the Department of Labor has made it very clear that retaliatory firing will not be tolerated.
A historical case of retaliatory firing landed one company with a $110,000 back wage payment, as well as fines imposed by OSHA, After an employee reported mechanical issues with his truck and was fired the next day, United Auto Recovery was required to rehire the employee, pay back wages and punitive damages, and was required increase trainings on employee rights, as well as to improve the workplace by posting employee rights posters.
The bottom line is that you can’t afford to fire a whistleblower unless you have absolute, irrefutable evidence that the firing had nothing to do with the report of fraud, complaint of discrimination, or safety issues.
I2P2 was presented a few years as a top priority for OSHA and then we didn’t hear much about it for a while. Earlier this week we read an update again in this article that two of the nation’s largest worker safety associations — the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Industrial Hygiene Assoc. — are pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make the injury/illness prevention program (I2P2) rule a top priority in 2013.
Keep your labor law postings current with KPA’s new Employment and Labor Poster Store.
Have you ever paused in your break room and tried to read the labor law posters hanging on the wall? Perhaps you chuckled when you noticed the ancient soup stains, the faded letters … and the copyright date of 2002.
Maybe labor laws have changed since then?
HR professionals are pretty busy. Updating the state and federal labor law posters is one of the many compliance tasks they need to get done as quickly as possible.
Buy posters in English, Spanish or bilingual (English and Spanish) formats.
Subscribe to annual updates (optional). When revisions happen, updated poster information will be sent to you via email, or replacement posters will be automatically shipped to your site.
Receive a separate NLRA poster with the standard state and federal poster combination.
Sign up for store coupons and promotions.
While a 10-year-old poster covered with Joey’s goulash accident may seem a tad funny when you’re sipping your morning coffee, it can trigger a hefty fine from the Department of Labor. Businesses are required to feature federal and state labor law postings in common areas frequented by employees and applicants.
We all know that drinking enough fluids is an essential part of staying safe during the summer. But exactly how much water is enough, especially when it’s really hot? And does it really matter what you drink, or when?
For employees who are physically active in extreme heat, KPA’s safety team recommends the following:
Drink about 4 oz. of water every 15 minutes.
Make it a priority to take quick breaks to drink – consuming small, frequent amounts of water is particularly important in extreme heat.
Drink even when you don’t feel thirsty.
Avoid drinks with sugar, caffeine and alcohol, because they can dehydrate your body. (Sorry, folks, but iced coffee lovers are out of luck.)
How would your Parts Department fare today, if you received a safety inspection? Our engineers have found 7 common areas where things go wrong. Some are pretty easy to spot, but some are less obvious. Let’s take a look at a few:
1) Unsafe storage on shelves
If you have sprinkler heads in your Parts Department, make sure items stored on the top shelf don’t obstruct the sprinkler heads. If you don’t have sprinkler heads, keep two feet of clearance between the roof and the top shelf of your storage.
2) Electrical panels
Make sure you have at least three feet of clearance around all sides of your electrical panels. You may want to use caution tape, or something similar, to mark the area that must stay clear.
Do you have used or warranty batteries stored in the Parts Department? Most dealers do. Make sure that they are in containers that eliminate battery acid spill on the ground. It’s also best to have baking soda on hand to make sure that any acid spills can be quickly neutralized.
4) DOT hazardous materials training
DOT training is required and due every three years. This applies to your Parts Department if they ship any kind of hazardous materials like seat belt pretensioners or air bag modules.
Want to guess what the other 3 pitfalls are?… There are also numerous hazards related to light bulbs, upstairs storage areas and forklifts.
OSHA’s inspections not only prevent workers from getting hurt on the job, they also save billions of dollars for employers through reduced workers’ compensation costs. A recent study by business school economists at the University of California and Harvard University followed more than 400 worksites in California after each site underwent an OSHA inspection.
The study, entitled “Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss,” appeared in the top scientific journal Science and reports that workplace injury claims dropped 9.4% at businesses in the four years following a randomized OSHA inspection, compared with employers who were not inspected. Those same employers also saved an average of 26% on workers’ compensation costs, compared to similar companies who were not inspected. This means that the average employer saved $355,000 (in 2011 dollars) as a result of an OSHA inspection. Benefits were observed among both small and large employers. Nationwide, these savings to employers amount to an estimated six billion dollars.
While it’s great to know that safety pays, you don’t need to call OSHA to start saving. KPA’s Environment & Safety services are delivered by safety engineers with extensive knowledge in compliance- not only with OSHA, but also EPA, DOT, FAA, along with state and local agencies. As part of our service, they visit your facility and conduct regularly scheduled inspections without intruding on your work day. For our clients, this means reaping the savings, without the headache, potential fines, or paperwork from regulatory agencies.