SHARP Businesses Take Advantage of OSHA’s Free Consultation Service
Not nearly enough small business owners know that when it comes to being compliant with workplace health and safety regulations, there is help for them out there. Small and mid-sized businesses can get free, confidential and comprehensive consultation visits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA).
OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small employers who operate exemplary safety and health management systems. If your worksite earns SHARP recognition, this achievement singles you out among your business peers as a model for worksite safety and health, which is great for your brand image and employee morale. But attaining this feather in your cap has additional value: Upon receiving SHARP recognition, OSHA exempts your worksite from its programmed inspections during the period that your SHARP certification is valid—up to two years, with a possible subsequent renewal for up to three years.
Yep. You get a pass from programmed inspections. How awesome is that? Keep in mind, however, that participation in SHARP does not eliminate the responsibilities or rights of owners or workers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which can still lead to inspections for such things as formal complaints, fatalities, imminent danger situations and any other significant events as directed by the Assistant Secretary of OSHA. That said, SHARP recognition is a way for OSHA to reward you for being proactive and maintaining exemplary safety and health conditions. And why shouldn’t they? It’s in everyone’s best interest to encourage businesses of all sizes to provide their workers protection from hazards, to identify and implement the best practices that protect workers and to develop innovative safety and health management systems for all employees. For your part, SHARP recognition allows you to create a culture of trust and dedication to excellence at your company and can lead to improved communication between all parties involved with workplace safety issues. Also attractive is the fact that OSHA-compliant companies tend to have lower worker compensation insurance premiums, good worker retention rates, and operations that run smoothly. And let’s not forget about how attractive SHARP-recognized companies are to top-quality job candidates when it comes to hiring.
And what if OSHA finds a problem during a SHARP inspection of your workplace?
If you meet most but not all of the SHARP eligibility criteria and are committed to working toward full approval, you may be recommended by your state On-site Consultation Project Manager for Pre-SHARP status and given a opportunity to correct the issues the inspection uncovered so that you can then qualify for complete SHARP status. You will not be penalized for violations or problems discovered during the inspection held at your request, which takes the risk out of asking for an on-site consultation.
Even if you decide not to go for the full SHARP recognition, the On-site Consultation service is a valuable free resource. To find out more about the services and the official recognition from OSHA, check out the SHARP website.
Interested in finding out more about how hireVision can help you with government regulations and compliance issues, or about any of our HR Partnering Services? Contact us today for a practical discussion about your human resources needs.