The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seems to be everywhere these days, at that includes Best of Success. Daniel Holland, a compliance officer for OSHA’s Englewood Area Office in Greenwood Village, Colo., was on hand to talk about fall protection standards as part of his presentation titled “Preparing for an OSHA Inspection.”
Holland, 21-year veteran of OSHA, defined the organization’s goals this way: “OSHA’s mission is to make sure every working man and woman has a safe and healthful workplace. It’s as simple as that.”
Before detailing fall protection requirements and offering advice on inspections, Holland first knocked down some “urban legends” about Compliance Safety and Health Officers, including:
• Compliance officers are on commission.
• OSHA will shut down your job.
• CSHOs can be distracted with doughnuts.
Those statements are all untrue, according to Holland, who also noted the doughnuts couldn’t hurt.
He outlined the key fall protection standards contractors should be familiar with, including:
• 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M
• 1926.500 – Scope, Application, Definitions
• 501 – Duty to Have Fall Protection
• 502 – Systems Criteria and Practices
• 503 – Training Requirements
One piece of advice: Make sure everyone is tied off. Holland stressed the importance of having a written safety policy and making sure everyone knows the rules — and how they will be enforced. “Communication is everything,” he said. “Your crew has to know. Employees know if they have a misconduct incident, there will be consequences.”
The same is true with subcontractors. “Document everything,” Holland said. “Prove you talked to them and they know what they are supposed to do. Enforce it, and document that you enforced it. That’s what we look for. When you prepare to deal with OSHA, document, document, document.”
Holland reminded attendees with questions on recent changes to residential enforcement guidelines that OSHA offers consulting service at no charge to the contractor. Information on OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program is available at the organization’s website, www.osha.gov.
Holland ended the seminar by flipping the session’s title on its head. “The key question is not ‘How do I prepare for OSHA?’ but ‘What should I do to protect my employees?’”