Why OSHA training is more than being JUST compliant

Posted on Posted in TheCurve

I was reading through a lot of emails and other safety related information as a result of School Bus Safety week (3rd week of October). It was good to see focus on safety all around. That made me think does safety mean being compliant to certain regulation / process or more than that? As a school bus business veteran, I still remember that every action or process always started with “Safety First”. So to contribute my two cents, I decided to write about a very important safety topic – OSHA.

What is OSHA?

For those of you who are not familiar with OSHA, it stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Act and is the primary federal law, which governs occupational health and safety in the private sector and federal government in the United States. It was enacted by Congress in 1970.

Why we need OSHA?

In 1970, Congress considered annual figures such as these:

  • Job related accidents accounted for more than 14,000 worker deaths.
  • Nearly 2 1/2 million workers were disabled.
  • Ten times as many person-days were lost from job-related disabilities as from strikes.
  • Estimated new cases of occupational diseases totaled 300,000

Since its inception in 1970, OSHA has cut the work-fatality rate by more than half, reduced the overall injury and illness rates in industries where OSHA has concentrated its attention, virtually eliminated brown lung disease in the textile industry and reduced trenching and excavation fatalities by 35 percent

In this article I am going to focus on training needs for OSHA and benefits associated with it rather than technical details of OSHA.

Training Requirements for OSHA:

There is a stringent requirements for employers regarding creating the safe environment and training their employees on OSHA. As per the law “If you have 10 or fewer employees, you may communicate your plan orally. If you have more than 10 employees, however, your plan must be written, communicated, kept in the workplace, and available for employee review.”

In my experience, many employers consider OSHA training as necessary evil, to be in compliance to federal law. I just want to draw your attention to no. of other benefits of providing OSHA training to your employees.

a) Keeps workforce safe: When it comes to employee safety, there is no match for it in terms of dollars. Even one injury or death is unacceptable. During my experience with transportation industry, I have seen numerous incidents, which could have been avoided with right training and safe environment. Whether they are incidents related to welding with improper PPE (personal protective environment) or lack of lockout / tagout procedures.

b) Higher Morale and Retention: When there is strong enforcement of safety standards by employer, even employees have higher sense of safety and security at work place. Higher job satisfaction is natural result at companies or locations, which are focused on employee safety at every step of their business cycle. When employees feel that their employer cares about them, they build a sense of loyalty leading to higher retention and satisfaction.

c) Higher productivity: In my experience, when employers follow a stringent discipline in one aspect of the job, it automatically spills over to the other parts. Employees feel motivated towards following standardization and efficiency in their daily job. Plus with reduction in absence from work, due to injury and higher retention are two key factors, which drive higher productivity

d) Makes the company safer and profitable: As I mentioned, coming from school bus industry, safety was always no. 1 factor on everyone’s mind, whether it was driver or CEO of the company. And it plays a major role in most industries. When company builds their reputation for being safe, they have the opportunity to win new business even at higher prices. Plus higher productivity, retention, fewer injuries or worker comp claims contributes to higher margins.

So its no brainer that training your employees in OSHA procedures, not only makes you compliant with Federal law but also is a win-win situation for employees, customers and employers. A small effort can result in bigger fruits.

How do we do it?

Having said this, it’s easier said than done to ensure compliance especially in transport industry. With hectic schedules and high attrition rate, it becomes impossible for companies to keep track of training and compliance. Most employers rely upon classroom training, which is very expensive and hard to coordinate.

Hence, to ensure every employee’s education you need a strong learning framework, which supports:

  1. Self learning and user friendly content
  2. Easy to use learning platform
  3. Access to platform from mobile devices or laptops or from their homes
  4. Strong tracking and compliance dashboard
  5. Effective notification system

You can also refer to my article on “Real learning vs check box learning” to learn more about effective learning.

So why wait to get started? Get your employees trained today to make everyone safer…………