Real-World Examples of Safety Success
OECS consultants have provided best-in-class workplace safety services since 1993. Below are detailed case studies that highlight how the OECS team approaches the unique workplace safety and compliance needs of our clients.
A furniture manufacturing company was cited by OSHA, resulting in 38 violations with fines excess of $186,000. The furniture manufacturing company had a dozen employees clean the production floor with solvent. The cleaning solvent vapors overwhelmed the employees. All were sent to the hospital Emergency Room. The hospital called OSHA, which sparked an onsite OSHA compliance inspection.
To compound the problem, OSHA was upset with the company due to the number of repeated violations from an earlier inspection that were not abated. The insurance company was very concerned about the First Reports of Injury regarding the illnesses to the employees that led to apprehension about the facility’s overall safety efforts in controlling loss. In order to settle the issue, OSHA required a safety person. The manufacturer requested OECS to guide the company with its efforts to resolve all the compliance issues.
OECS, Inc. successfully completed all of the required abatement periods mandated by OSHA regulations, allowing the company to stay in operation.
A Midwest company that manufactures metal products (such as shovels and trash cans) incurred both industrial hygiene and safety compliance visits by OSHA enforcement within a two month span. A multitude of difficult issues were cited including lack of written programs such as MNAWAIR, Right-to-Know, Lockout/Tagout and lack of employee safety programs. Machine guarding violations, lockout/tagout implementation, and air testing were also cited. Serious citations totaling thousands of dollars were issued with tight abatement periods.
OSHA visited this facility based on an established industry “target list” which included metal fabrication. This means that the company’s individual injury experience was not the reason for the visit; rather, the industry as a whole was targeted due to the high rate of injury across that specific industry, regardless of a particular company.
Safety programs and written documents were mostly obsolete, generic templates that needed to be replaced. Required training needed to be completed on the cited topics identified during the OSHA visit. OECS was hired to initially attend the OSHA informal conference with company’s top management. Through informal conference negotiations, OECS recommended and secured the 75/25 plan. If the company was able to reduce their injury rate by 25%, OSHA would forgo the remaining 75% of the penalty.
The challenge to OECS was developing written safety programs to meet the OSHA regulations, developing safety procedures, conducting safety training, and addressing physical safety issues within abatement time frames as agreed to with OSHA.
At the same time, the company was shopping for insurance. The insurance carriers wanted the company loss issues addressed or anticipated substantial higher premiums. Loss issues included strain/sprain injuries, hand injuries, and guarding issues.
After the company received the citation, OECS completed the OSHA citation items within the required abatement deadlines, turned around the strain/sprain injuries, and corrected all of the serious guarding issues. The positive outcome is the company received favorable quotes from the insurance carriers. Secondly, they reduced their injuries by 25%, which resulted in saving 75% of the remaining penalty assessment. Third, OECS discovered even more serious guarding and industrial hygiene issues that were missed by the OSHA Inspector. OECS abated these new discovered hazards and violations, thus preventing injuries and additional OSHA fines.