Federal program honors safe workplaces

In a recent post, we discussed the On-site Consultation Program. Offered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the program functions as an incentive to small business owners. However, the program may benefit both employer and employee alike. By taking proactive safety measures -- usually offered in the form of free advice by an OSHA official -- small business owners might avoid costly fines by OSHA inspectors.

Today’s story highlights another OSHA program intended to achieve a win-win among employers and workers. Called the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, or SHARP, the program honors small businesses that meet OSHA standards. Companies that meet the rigorous safety requirements are exempted from OSHA inspections for a period of up to two years.

Some readers might question whether that standard is achievable in industries perceived as more high-risk, such as construction or steel manufacturing sites. However, a recent article highlighted one steel plant’s success in achieving federal safety recognition. Its story is proof that it is possible to achieve workplace safety and to take preventative measures against accidents, even in so-called dangerous industries.

A workers’ compensation attorney might laud such OSHA programs as both cost-effective and worker friendly. A workplace accident might expose an employer to financial and legal liability. At a minimum, such on-the-job injuries usually require an employer -- or the employer’s insurer -- to cover the employee’s lost wages and medical expenses. To the extent an insurer disputes any workers’ compensation coverage, an employer might also face the cost of litigation.

Source: triblive.com, “OSHA lauds MLP Steel Everson plant in Scottdale,” Paul Paterra, Sept. 11, 2013

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