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Is It Enough to be 100% OSHA Compliant?


This may come as a shock to some but focusing purely on OSHA compliance might mean overlooking some risk areas. Remember, being 100% compliant is not going to completely eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses. In fact, over half of workplace fatalities aren’t even addressed by OSHA regulations. Most of them are caused by transport accidents or workplace violence. Workplaces need to make an effort to identify the risks specific to their environment. The OSHA regulations are the minimum standard, not the full extent of what’s needed in terms of safety. Being totally compliant doesn’t mean that you’re totally safe.

We’re not saying that adherence to OSHA regulations hasn’t improved workplace safety. On the contrary. In 1970, out of the 56 million workers in the US, nearly 14 000 died of workplace accidents. In 2004, out of nearly 140 million workers, there were fewer than 6000 deaths.

However, there were over 4 million work-related injuries and illnesses, which is why it’s so important for businesses to establish their own set of best practices to identify specific risks and be able to eliminate gateways for injuries and illnesses. Strange as it may seem, a company may be fully OSHA compliant and yet have an unsafe work environment.

It’s possible to have both safety and OSHA compliance, and this is what companies need to aim for. By becoming aware of the hazards inherent to their specific operations, workplace management can create a comprehensive health and safety program that works.

We look forward to the day when companies do self-inspections and take on the responsibility for initiating health and safety improvements instead of focusing all attention on avoiding the OSHA penalties.