Want to take your safety and health program to the next level? OSHA might be the answer. Last year, the agency offered free consultation services to some 28,000 businesses. The On-Site Consultation Program has long been one of OSHA’s most recognized successes. Consultation, which provides free, confidential assistance to small businesses, is not associated with enforcement.
The federally funded safety consultation program is administered by safety and health specialists at state organizations, often colleges and universities. Participating employers have access to advice that can help them increase productivity and reduce losses due to injuries and workers’ compensation claims.
OSHA holds up The East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind (ETLB) as a consultation success story. In 2002, leaders at this nonprofit job training and employment agency signed up for consultation to ensure they were providing a safe workplace and complying with federal safety standards. During the initial walkaround, a consultant identified a number of hazards and shortcomings in the organization’s safety and health program. In the years since that visit, ETLB has continued to work with OSHA consultants to find hazards and implement cost-effective solutions. Their program is characterized by a zero-tolerance attitude toward hazards and an emphasis on worker involvement.
The job-training organization says working with consultation has helped reduce injuries and hazards, improved safety and health documentation, and strengthened its safety program. ETLB has not experienced a single recordable injury since 2014.
As their confidence grew, the organization began to pursue entry in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), often considered a stepping stone to OSHA’ Voluntary Protection Programs. In 2016, the Lighthouse earned SHARP status, as well as a safety award from the Texas Department of Insurance.
Learn more about OSHA consultation, and how to apply for assistance at https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html.