In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Sta-tistics (BLS) reported there were 27,150 non-fatal injuries reported in the automotive repair sector alone. And, more than 5,250 workers died on the job. That’s more than 14 deaths per day. It’s time the Automotive industry does its part in lowering these injury and fatality numbers. It’s time we protect our most valuable assets, our employees. Every employee deserves to go home at night, and arrive in one piece. If not now, then when? And if now, then how? We can start by taking the word ‘accident’ out of our vocabulary immediately. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mission is, “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.” New rules and regulations are churned out yearly. OSHA facts state, “Worker deaths in America are down, on av-erage, from about 38 worker deaths a day in 1970 to 14 a day in 2017.”As a shop owner and employer, what can you do?Repair shop owners are rarely safety experts. Most owners do know what it takes to successfully fix cars, and that includes using the right tools. To help protect your employees, use the best tools available.One factor in the lower fatality average can be contributed directly to OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program. This program was established to help small to medium-size busi-nesses (like yours) evaluate potential hazards at their workplaces and im-prove their safety management pro-gram. In essence, the program helps you identify and remove potential hazards, thus preventing employee injuries and fatalities
Every employer is required to have a Safety and Health program for its establishment. Why not get free, confidential advice from OSHA? As the employer setting the consultation, you get to decide the scope of the visit. You can focus on one very specific concern, or maybe a compre-hensive hazard assessment is appro-priate. Whatever the parameters, OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program is designed to help you, your establishment, and most important, your employees.The On-Site Consultation Program is voluntary, confidential, and free. One adjective it is not – scary. The program is separate from the OSHA enforcement inspection effort of the agency. There are absolutely no citations nor penalties proposed by the agency at any time during this consultation process. This is possible because it is 100% confidential. No names, addresses, or dangerous working conditions are revealed to OSHA’s inspection staff. There is only one catch – employers who work with the On-Site Consultation program are required to correct any and all serious job safety and health hazards found at the time of the consultation. This is part of the agreement you must make prior to the start of the session. Still unsure, consider this: Just call your general liability insurance carrier. Not only will they recommend the program; they will also tell you to get on the list now, as most state OSHA programs have a waiting list for these consultations. In “FY 2018, the On-site Consultation Program conducted over 26,000 visits to small business worksites covering approximately one million workers across the nation”. Your carrier will tell you that once completed and iden-tified hazards are corrected, they will lower your insurance premiums.
Companies that have worked in conjunction with OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program enjoy numerous benefits. Most importantly, by working together you are creating and improving the welfare of your employees. Safety should always be your number one concern. By creating a safer workplace, you are also saving money. Keeping employees safe and on the shop floor helps your bottom line. You’ll have lower workers’ compensation costs, liability insurance rates will decrease, there will be fewer ‘lost workdays’, and you’ll see less damage and repair costs to your equipment.How do I get started?Please visit https://www.osha.gov/consultation to learn more about OS-HA’s On-Site Consultation Program and to find your local area office to assist you. Want to learn even more? View a complimentary 30-minute webinar in Q2 of 2020 where CCAR, in cooperation with an OSHA representative will provide additional information regarding the On-Site Consultation Program. Check our blog for updates at, https://ccar-greenlink.org/blog/.
The Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR) is a non-profit organization with a singular focus on the automotive industry and its needs for safety and hazardous material compliance and training. Founded in 1994 with grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CCAR is also one of the original Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Alliance partners. To learn more about CCAR and its programs, please call 888/476-5465 or visit www.ccar-green-link.org