Construction companies all over the world battle with employee misconduct that leads to violations. While the majority of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards deal with employer responsibilities for workplace safety, there are many factors that account for violations of these rules. After receiving inspections from OSHA about employee misconduct, construction companies raise the following question. What if a contractor has trained its employees on safety rules but these workers refuse to follow procedures? Is the employer still responsible?
OSHA’s mission is to ensure that employees work in a safe and healthful environment by setting and enforcing standards. This includes providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. Employers must comply with all applicable OSHA standards, as well as employees. However, despite the ability for employers to properly train their employees, some workers proceed with unsafe actions causing OSHA violations. This is a clear infringement of OSHA standards, as section 5(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employees to comply with job site safety rules and regulations.
Safety Is More than Training
Unfortunately, complying to OSHA regulations has been a constant struggle. According to an article published by the Safety + Health Magazine of the NSC Congress and Expo, the main cause of OSHA violations in companies is miscommunication. How can we serve to mitigate violations and enforce safety among workers? First, we must agree that safety requires more than training. Generally, much of the pressure is put on employers to sustain safety company-wide. They must thoroughly train workers to carry-out their business and implement OSHA standards. But how? By demonstrating why it is important and how it applies to the company’s business and framework. Therefore, ensuring the health and safety of your business lies beyond the hands of management positions. It is a commitment and dedication from each employee.
A Matter of Mindset
A company’s health and safety demands strict application from workers on and off the work-site. Beyond training, it is a matter of creating a mindset of safety. For example, at Sigalarm, we value power line safety. So our mission is to save lives and equipment by preventing unintended power line contact. We have created an environment where we scale safety through our proximity alarms.
Elements of Safety
If employers have trained and relayed safety requirements, but employees still refuse to follow procedures, their actions can be considered employee misconduct. There are elements of safety that businesses should implement into their safety policies to make a successful case of employees’ lack of compliance. Additionally, these measures help avoid accidents, injuries, and even fatalities on the work-site.
- Written Policies: employers should provide their employees with a written policy that outlines general safety policies and procedures
- Training: employers must educate all employees on its safety policies and procedures and then have them sign a statement affirming that they have received the training
- Enforcing Rules: adopt a system that verifies that rules are enforced.
- Documentation of Discipline: it is important to demonstrate that employees are routinely disciplined when they violate the rules
These elements of safety help with having a strong case to fight OSHA citations. However, using employee misconduct defenses too often can lead to a loss of credibility.
Due to OSHA regulations, most companies already have elements of safety in place. Consequently, the number of job-related injuries and fatalities have remarkably decreased through the years. While regulations have kept companies on track and have changed the work environment, OSHA violations are still prevalent. So in order to contribute to the elements of safety, our proximity alarms serve as another layer of protection. Contact us today to learn about how to stay safe on the job site.