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Posted by Thelma Marshall Product Director on Dec 17, 2019 4:00:00 AM

During 2019, OSHA focused much of their time on employer safety initiatives, training programs and injury reporting requirements, conducting 33,401 inspections— more inspections than in the previous years.

Is your warehousing operation ready to meet OSHA’s 2020 safety compliance regulations and navigate through a possible inspection? It can be if you are prepared.

Safety First

As your facility and its technology evolves, there may be new safety challenges to consider. Recently, OSHA updated its Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs to address workplace changes and new challenges that have occurred over the last three decades. Essentially, new technology and robotics can revolutionize how you do business, but they also can create new ways an employee can become injured.

Awareness of these new risks and preventive measures (like telematic lockout/tagout) can drastically reduce injuries and potential fines. Nothing is a guarantee of safety, but you must be able to prove to OSHA that certain protocol was in place and enforced.

Accidents happen

So, what should happen in the event of an accident or injury? OSHA recommends that employers conduct investigations of workplace incidents using these four steps.

  1. Ensure that the incident site is safe and secure, and get medical attention for anyone who has been injured. Also confirm that equipment involved is in lock-out/tag-out and cannot be energized. Take photos and document everything before anything is moved.
  2. Gather information from witnesses as soon as possible. People tend to remember more right after an incident occurs as opposed to hours or days later. Use open-ended questions to avoid accidentally influencing the witness’s answers. 
  3. Determine the root cause by using the “Five Whys” method. OSHA offers a fact sheet on root-cause analyses to assist, but often the answers can be seen in the data from your telematics software.
  4. Once you determine the root cause, determine specific actions that should take place that will reduce the risk of a repeat incident. Assign a specific person to oversee each corrective task, assign a date for the task to be completed, and determine a place to note when the task is done.

  Safety preparedness

You never know when a workplace injury or incident could trigger an OSHA inspection and put current safety measures under scrutiny. Being proactive with safety training, monitoring operator behavior, and enforcing the use of safety checklists and proper maintenance can help prevent this.

Your software platform should alert managers to equipment issues, repairs, or required maintenance before it poses any risk. The platform should also monitor and report on operator behavior and training needs and provide access to information in multiple languages.

If employees speak other languages, remember that a large void in safety still exists if telematics checklists and safety reminders aren’t accessible in a language they fully understand. Software platforms, like TotalTrax’s SX200, are accessible in Canadian French, Spanish, and German, which allows forklift operators to read the safety checklists in a familiar language. So, they can effectively complete the OSHA required checklist before they operate a forklift.

Putting workplace safety first in 2020 is one of the most effective ways of protecting your employees and avoiding OSHA violations. Your telematics system should make compliance easier, providing insight that identifies risky behavior and training needs and removes language barriers that impede safety.

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