Safety+Health readers were asked their opinion about the majority view of OSHA-employer relations in an informal online poll in May/June 2011.
OSHA has a lot of talk about criminal provisions and whistleblower protection and little about how they can help businesses create a better safety culture. It seems to be all about the evil businesses and nothing about individual responsibility.
OSHA tries to catch people doing things they do not approve of.
From talking to many different employers in many different types of businesses, I am of the opinion that employers only hear about the citations and large penalties so they are convinced that OSHA is the enemy, even though they have never dealt with them.
In many or most cases OSHA's presence on worksite is enforcement related. There are no well marketed programs for consultation (especially under the current administration) and OSHA has failed to make a solid business case for partnering.
for years and even currently what is in the news is the cost of citations and nothing that relates to OSHA outreach or even the volunteer OSHA outreach instructors.
I have worked at companies where OSHA is the enemy. I luckily work for a progressive company that does not fear OSHA. After all they are in the same business as most safety professionals, keeping workers safe.
OSHA has recently announced it will begin emphasis of enforcement in lieu of the past collaborative approach to compliance.
because OSHA can impose fines on industry
OSHA will never come in without finding something to cite you for. The perception is that they would be bad inspectors if they could not find something. This will almost always cost the employer some amount of money in fines.
To save time and money they often cut corners on one level or another. So they are afraid of getting caught.
You are dealing with a Governmental Agency that has more publicity for catching companies doing wrong than helping companies to do what is right.
Most employers meet OSHA AFTER an accident or complaint - reacting to hazards after an event.
No one likes to be told what to do, particularly by someone who doesn't really understand your situation.
because upper management always wants to know how they can get around a osha regulation or does that really state that in the regulations?
Just view the statements coming from the Department of Labor. It is a gotcha mentality. The DOL has hired CHSOs and need to justify the hiring -- issue citations.
OSHA compliance is a detailed and complex issue managed by employees who have shared responsibilities and typically less training than a CSHO. CSHO, having both a superior knowledge base as well as the ability to impose fines for minor infractions.
Even though I do not personally feel that way, I believe most employers feel they are a disruption to their business and an infringement to their rights to operate their business the way they want.
Because of the I know better than you and don't you forget it attitude.
By their very purpose it places them as the agressor rather than assisting.
Past history tells us that when they show up, two things happen, either you must pay large fines or they lock your doors. Even for the small companies that TRY and do things the right way, no one believes OSHA will work with them to help. FINES FINES FINES.
In the employer's mind, the OSHA inspector has the upper hand. It is not a partnership but an opportunity to make money for the state. True or not, most employers feel this way.
Any time you deal with someone in an enforcement role that is there to find fault, it is adversarial. Not to say you do not try to put on a helpful face.
Many employers do not clearly understand the role of OSHA; better communication is needed between OSHA representatives and industry employees.
Because employers believe that the extra time needed to be safe cuts into profits.
because OSHA reps are cops, not coaches. they're only there to try and catch you doing something wrong instead of reinforcing what you're doing right.
At one time, under the previous administration OSHA was very receptive to compliance assistance. Now the fines have climbed and the attitude of the compliance officers is cocky and better than thou.
OSHA is willing to fine for minor problems even when a company has an above average program and safety results that match.
OSHA provides ways to keep a healthy workforce and avoid litigation.
I beleive the guidelines set by OSHA help to manage safety in the work place and keep the workers comp claims to a minimum.
OSHA has long been committed to "watching out fo the employee". While it may seem to be cumbersome, reading, following and participating in guidelines serves as a constant reminder that the workplace doesn't have to be a 'dangerous' place.
Maybe they used to. By now employers should have realized OSHA looks out for all work environments. Provide support and penalize if necessary.
The education and training information they offer can be very helpful.