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Big company or small, you must train your employees

- November 28, 2019 by Thomas Jolliff, ARM, CEES, ALCM (View all posts by Thomas)

A common management oversight we see when reviewing safety programs is a lack of formal employee training, along with formal documentation of the training. Formal meaning everything is in writing – programs, documentation and policies and procedures.

Recent case in point

The U.S. Department of Labor released information on a Federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration inspection which points to the financial gravity of an employer not providing training; though the real lesson was the failure to simply provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.

OSHA inspectors found 18 serious violations and two “other than serious violations” at a company with only eight employees engaged in powder coating aluminum and steel architectural products.

Total OSHA citations: $55,000.

The serious violations included:

  • Failing to ensure employees used eye, face, and hand protection while working with cleaners and products containing phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, and carbon black.
  • Not training workers in the use of proper personal protective equipment.
  • Not providing an eyewash/shower unit for workers exposed to corrosive materials.
  • Failing to develop and implement a confined space program.
  • Not posting permit-required confined space signage on equipment such as dryers, ovens and wash tanks where employees could be exposed to oxygen-deficient atmospheres.
  • Allowing power coating materials to accumulate on the floor and equipment due to poor housekeeping, and exposing workers to fall, electrical, and other combustible dust hazards.

Employee training is critical in building a culture of safety, and any oversight may lead to serious, and costly, consequences.