At the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) meeting, I listened to a presentation by an attorney who specializes in working with OSHA and businesses like ours.
In her presentation, she describes the enforcement activities of OSHA and describes a variety of horror stories associated with those violations. As she described the various engagements she has had, it gratified me to know that, while OSHA has visited many of our plants in recent years, we have never been fined in any fashion of significance.
Why is that so?
First, when OSHA visits us, we have a well-defined safety program in place. Our paperwork is in order. We investigate our accidents. We care for our employees when they are injured.
Second, our management has knowledge of and cares about safety. Many companies regard OSHA and workers’ compensation as an evil to be handled. They don’t try to prevent accidents. They try to avoid care for injured workers and they don’t trouble themselves with learning about prevention. Thus, when OSHA shows up to meet them, they are like sharks in bloody water. The ignorance exhibited by leaders tells them that workers in the plant are probably at risk. They go looking for violations and they find them.
Third, all of you demonstrate an understanding of safety rules, wear your safety equipment and exhibit a willingness to see that safety prevails in our work settings. That means we have a safety culture.
Woodworking facilities can be very dangerous to the uninitiated. It’s why we spend so much effort to create a safe workplace and a safety culture. We want you to work hard but leave healthy. We can only accomplish that goal if we work together to achieve it. Every day. Every hour.