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Curbing Costs with Preparedness: OSHA's Top Ten Cited Standards

Posted on Thu, Jan 30, 2014

“Statistics suggest that every dollar invested in disaster preparedness yields savings of $4–$11 in disaster response, relief, and recovery.” The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Preparedness is directly tied to issues that can adversely affect profitability.  Instituting, upgrading, and/or maintaining a proactive preparedness program may be seen as a superfluous expenditure. However, when companies can deliberately protect lives, prevent hazardous environmental impacts, limit property damage, and eliminate regulatory fines, prioritizing an EHS program becomes an investment in the sustainability of a company. 

OSHA recently revealed its Top Ten most frequently cited standards for the 2013 fiscal year (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013). The list incorporates worksite inspection findings of Federal OSHA inspectors from across the country. Ideally, companies should utilize this list to conduct assessments, identify potential site-specific compliance lapses, and mitigate these highly recognized hazards. In a press release, OSHA stated, “Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace.”  The Top Ten most frequently cited standards include:

  1. 1926.501 - Fall Protection
  2. 1910.1200 - Hazard Communication
  3. 1926.451 - Scaffolding
  4. 1910.134 - Respiratory Protection
  5. 1910.305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods
  6. 1910.178 - Powered Industrial Trucks
  7. 1926.1053 - Ladders
  8. 1910.147 - Lockout/Tagout
  9. 1910.303 - Electrical, General Requirements
  10. 1910.212 - Machine Guarding

The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 668 workers in 2012, down slightly from 2011. In 2012, the height of the fall was reported in 437 of the fatal falls to a lower level. Of those cases, about one in four occurred after a fall of 10 feet or less. Another one-fourth of the fatal fall cases occurred from falls of over 30 feet. Companies should utilize this information to evaluate their site-specific safety measures. By analyzing current safety elements, processes, and procedures, companies can potentially mitigate inefficiencies and substandard compliant operations.

A cost-benefit analysis of an emergency management program can highlight the potential cost savings of an effective program. Prevention, mitigation, and planning costs should be compared with the financial impact of situational recovery processes and the overall costs of an incident. These costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Human life
  • Short term or long term business interruption
  • Lawsuit(s)
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Equipment failure
  • Inventory/stock losses
  • Fines
  • Reputation
  • Environmental destruction

Additionally, companies must ensure that their facilities are compliant with OSHA requirements to develop  written Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Fire Prevention Plans. The requirement is based on the number of employees that are physically in a facility at any time of the working day. The regulation states that employers with 10 or fewer employees do not have to create a written EAP. However, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An EAP must communicate the following minimum requirements:

  • Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(2))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(3))
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(4))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(5))
  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(1))
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan. (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(6))
For a free download on Fire Pre Plans, click the image below:
TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, OSHA, Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Management Program, Emergency Action Plan