February 12, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2014
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
Employers should check to see if their working conditions are on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 2014 regional emphasis inspection list
AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor’s SafetyWorks! training and safety consultation program advises Maine employers to review the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Regional Emphasis list for New England. The regional emphasis identifies workplace hazards in private-sector businesses that will be an area of priority for federal OSHA inspection and enforcement actions over the coming year. Businesses should check the list to see if their industry or specific working conditions appear as an inspection priority so they can take steps to ensure that they comply with OSHA regulations.
“Maine businesses have an excellent way to help them comply with workplace safety and health regulations and decrease the risk of associated OSHA fines—It’s called SafetyWorks!,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Fines can run a business thousands of dollars, but workplace accidents bring harsher costs—worker’s comp claims, lost productivity and, most troubling, injured or killed workers. SafetyWorks! provides no-cost workplace reviews, noting hazards and helping businesses better meet the requirements of the law.”
He added, “SafetyWorks! helps employers be prepared for OSHA inspections.”
OSHA targets inspections to find and address the most hazardous workplaces under the agency’s new weighted inspection system, called regional emphasis. The Regional Emphasis Programs for New England States includes the following workplace situations, industries or facilities: combustible dust, hazardous machinery (National Emphasis Program on Amputations), hexavalent chromium, occupational exposure to isocyanates, lead, nursing and residential care facilities, primary metal industries, Process Safety Management (PSM) (two programs: PSM-covered chemical facilities and petroleum refinery PSM), shipbreaking, crystalline silica and trenching and excavation.
In addition to focusing on serious hazards, OSHA may encourage its compliance officers and area offices to conduct complex inspections.
All employers, but especially those whose workplace conditions appear on this list, can arrange for a free, on-site, confidential consultation from SafetyWorks!, a program of the Maine Department of Labor. SafetyWorks! provides a trained consultant with industry-specific expertise who will review the facility by appointment. The consultation may include such elements as recognizing safety hazards, sampling for air and noise exposures, recommending ways to reduce or to eliminate hazards, developing or improving a safety program, complying with federal OSHA regulations and identifying training needs.
Employers who meet certain standards and have a safety record below their industry average may also qualify for a program that exempts their worksite from OSHA inspections for up to two years.
For more information about SafetyWork!’s services, contact SafetyWorks! at 1-877-SAFE 345 (1-877-723-3345) or http://www.safetyworksmaine.com . SafetyWorks! is not OSHA and cannot issue fines or citations to private businesses. While SafetyWorks! helps businesses of any size, priority is given to small businesses. The program trains about 8,000 people and consults at nearly 1,000 worksites in Maine each year.