Companies, especially those with employees who have the potential to be injured on a jobsite, should be on the lookout during the Government Shutdown.
Because of the Shutdown, OSHA, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, is unable to process appeals, respond to inquiries regarding the interpretation of OSHA standards or hold informal settlement conferences for recently issued citations, according to My Safety Sign.
Currently, OSHA has furloughed 90 percent of its staff and has two compliance officers left at each of the agency’s 92 field offices.
According to the site, the contingency plans issued on Sept. 10 in preparation for the Shutdown reads as follows:
“…the agency is retaining ‘enough staff to respond to workplace fatalities, catastrophes and situations posing imminent danger,’ as well as reports of employees ‘potentially exposed to hazardous conditions that present a high risk of death or serious physical harm.’”
OSHA’s website states:
“This website is currently not being updated due to the suspension of Federal Government services. The last update to the site was October 1, 2013. Updates to the site will start again when the Federal Government resumes operations. If you need to report a workplace fatality, hospitalizations, an imminent danger situation, or you are filing a hazard complaint, please contact our toll free number: 1-800-321-OSHA (6742); TTY 1-877-889-5627 (or contact OSHA’s area and regional offices during normal business hours.)”
Because of this, issuing citations and notifications of alleged hazardous conditions, conducting routing and follow-up safety inspections and creating and revising standards have all been put on hold.
With all of this being said, it’s time to pay extra close attention on jobsites.
Safety is always a big part of any jobsite, but now landscapers need to pay extra attention to hazardous situations.
With OSHA being put on hold, the checks and balances system is also put on hold.
Landscapers should be taking extra steps to prevent accidents during this Government Shutdown and should stay alert to potential issues.
- Make extra visits to jobsites to check on crews
- Do double and triple checks on safety equipment of all employees
- Have general managers make safety checklists for crew members
- Explain to crew members OSHA situation and importance of safety
- Hold extra safety training sessions during week