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Strategies to Avoid OSHA Violations


OSHA violations cost light-duty fleets hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Worse yet, these violations lead to accidents, injuries, and even worker deaths.

Remember: OSHA exists for a reason. Yes, it is burdensome on fleets to comply with these regulations, but without these rules, people would suffer and you’d be up to your eyeballs in cost of loss.

Keep in mind that OSHA has jurisdiction when vehicles are off the highway, loading, and unloading, and being used in the workplace. It’s worthwhile investing time and resources into OSHA compliance.

With that in mind, we’ll show you how to avoid OSHA violations for your fleet, protect your people, and reduce your cost of loss.

What Are The Most Common OSHA Violations? 

If we want to avoid OSHA violations, we need to look at the most common OSHA violations for light-duty fleets.

We covered this in a past blog, but it’s worth revisiting.

Here are the top 5 OSHA violations for vehicle fleets (and a link to the OSHA standard straight from the source):

  1. Fall Protection - General Requirements
  2. Respiratory Protection
  3. Ladders
  4. Scaffolding
  5. Hazard Communication

Download 8 Light Duty Training Courses You Can Use For Your Safety Meetings eBook

What Happens If You Receive an OSHA Violation?

OSHA lays out everything you need to know about penalties here. But in short, you gotta pay up.

OSHA violations can range from $5,000 to $70,000 per violation. And, the more you’re cited for a violation, the more you spend if they catch it again.

Here’s what happens if OSHA inspects you and finds anything wrong or if someone reports you:

  • Depending on the nature of the violation and whether or not it’s a first-time offense, you could be issued a citation. This is sort of like a warning. It doesn’t go on your record and won’t cost you money. Instead, it lists a date of when you need to solve it.
  • If you receive the same citation more than once in three years, it’s considered a violation. You’ll be fined and it goes on your safety record.
  • Once you receive your citation, you’ll need to provide OSHA with a written report and proof of how you solved the issue.
  • If a violation is severe enough, you’ll be issued a fine. You’ll still need to prove that you solved the problem going forward.

How You Can Avoid Violations

If you put forth efforts to prevent OSHA violations, it’s worth the time and energy. Anything you spend on prevention will be cheaper than an actual violation. Plus, you’ll be able to protect your people from serious accidents and injuries.

We suggest a three-step plan to ensure you’re protected against OSHA violations:

  1. Understand how to comply
  2. Invest in employee training and education
  3. Run your own safety audits

Understand OSHA Regulations

It should go without saying that you need to learn the OSHA standards before you can prevent them. There are a ton of them, but not all OSHA standards will apply to your industry.

The best place to start is with OSHA’s industry fact sheets. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of what’s expected of your industry. Then, you can take a deep dive and understand the ins and outs of all the standards.

Employee Training & Education

Some OSHA standards require you or the company to take action. These standards usually involve having the correct safety equipment, keeping equipment in good condition, etc. However, most standards require that your employees take specific actions.

If your employees don’t know how or when to use equipment, essential techniques for mitigating risk, and the specific OSHA standards that impact them, you’re at risk of violations.

We recommend you invest in employee training and education that will teach them how to comply. We have an off-the-shelf product that will educate your people on:

The cost of the training is far less than what you’ll save on avoided OSHA violations. It’s important to note that for extremely specific standards, you might need to make the training yourself.

If you’re doing a DIY job, we’ll give you one piece of advice: always start with what’s in it for your viewer. In other words, your training should always start and end with why your employees should care. Explain how it benefits them specifically. If you do that, they’re much more likely to pay attention.

Run Internal Safety Audits

Despite your best efforts, something might go wrong. A piece of equipment is out of date or goes unused, or maybe a work environment has unnoticed and unattended risks. When this happens, you want to be the one to catch it.

We recommend running quarterly safety audits. Have someone in your management team go through your entire company just as an OSHA inspector would. This person should make a detailed report of what was out of compliance.

With this report, you can make a plan to tighten your loose screws. Investigate why these violations were in place. Get all the involved parties together. Give everyone action items for preventing this issue from happening again.

Invest in Prevention to Lower Your Costs

If nothing else, you should take these two things away from this article:

  1. OSHA violations are expensive
  2. OSHA violations are common for light-duty fleets

Your company and your employees are at risk of accidents and injuries. Without investing in prevention, you’re rolling the dice on safety.

If you put money and time towards preventing OSHA violations, you’ll sleep well at night knowing you and your people are protected.

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