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August 15, 2013
Did you know OSHA offers free, on-site consultation?

Your business may be in the market for an outside safety consultant but lacking in resources to hire one. OSHA’s free safety and health consultation services may be the answer, or at least part of the answer.

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OSHA consultation provides free and confidential advice to small- and medium-sized businesses committed to improving workplace safety and health. The service is separate from OSHA enforcement and does not result in penalties or citations. The program is state-run but is federally funded.
 
Each year, OSHA consultants respond to some 30,000 requests from businesses. The consultants are experts in identifying workplace hazards and making recommendations to eliminate them. According to OSHA, businesses benefit in a number of ways, including by:

  • Reducing worker injury and illness rates;
  • Decreasing workers’ compensation costs;
  • Improving worker morale;
  • Increasing productivity;
  • Recognizing and removing hazards from the workplace; and
  • Improving safety and health management.

Another set of eyes to help identify and fix hazards

The process starts with a phone call, e-mail, or request. The employer is expected to correct any serious, unsafe, or unhealthful working conditions discovered by the consultant within a reasonable time frame.

Here’s what OSHA consultants will do:

  • Meet with the employer and, at times, employees or employee representatives;
  • Walk through the worksite with the employer and employees;
  • Review company injury and illness rates;
  • Help identify hazards in the workplace;
  • Identify types of assistance available;
  • Give detailed findings in a closing conference;
  • Provide a written report summarizing findings;
  • Help with development or maintenance of an effective safety and health program;
  • Provide training and education for the employer and employees; and
  • Recommend the site for a 1-year exemption from OSHA programmed inspections, when Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) criteria are met.

In rare instances, the consultant may find an “imminent danger” situation during the walk-through. If so, the employer must take immediate action to protect all employees.

Find out more about consultation at the webpage http://www.OSHA.gov/consultation.

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