Many business owners and executives feel overwhelmed by OSHA regulations, and complain that they and their staff are just too busy and lack the time, resources and expertise to properly manage everything. That may be true, but OSHA doesn’t care nor does it give “passes,” even to small companies. This dictum from OSHA’s website says it all:
Who’s OSHA anyway? OSHA, or the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, was created in 1971 and is a division of the US Department of Labor. They are charged with protecting American workers by helping to ensure that workplaces are free of health and safety hazards. OSHA primarily accomplishes this through: 1) development of health and safety standards (ie: laws) that companies must follow, and 2) enforcement efforts to penalize violating companies, with the intention of deterring non-compliance (more about this in a minute).Their rules and regulations put a significant burden on US employers, but they are a vital and effective organization.
Did you know: Before OSHA was created in 1971, there were an average of 14,000 work related fatalities each year in the US, or 38 deaths every single DAY. Today that number has decreased by 65% to approximately 4200 deaths per year or 12 per day. And OSHA’s impact is actually much better when you consider that the number of US jobs has more than doubled since that time.
Most states fall under the jurisdiction of Federal OSHA, but 27 states have their own state plans that must meet or exceed OSHA Federal standards. Texas falls under Federal OSHA.
This means that all Texas employers must meet or exceed all of OSHA’s health and safety laws. These rules and regulations essentially fall under 5 major areas:
Administrative Requirements(ie: customized health and safety manual, PPE assessments, etc.)
Employee Training Requirements(there are multiple training requirements and are dependent upon your company’s operations and the hazards that they create. Many training requirements are recurring and all affected employees must be trained.)
Record Keeping Requirements(primarily the OSHA 300 logs and training records)
Health Testingfor air quality and noise (employers must not expose their employees to excessive levels of OSHA listed chemicals and contaminants, nor expose employees to excessive noise levels)
Managing and abating Physical Hazardson the shop floor (these result in the majority of fines and penalties when inspections occur).
OSHA is currently run by Dr. David Michaels who has a stern reputation for actively promoting enforcement and penalizing violating companies. His leadership has contributed to the following worrying enforcement trends that cannot be ignored:
OSHA enforcement efforts are currently at historically high levels with no signs of slowing down
The average OSHA fine ranges between $15,000 – $50,000 per inspection but often exceed $100,000
The # of fines exceeding $100,000 has more than doubled since 2007
OSHA issues fines in 85% of their inspections
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Berg Compliance Solutions, LLC provides environmental, health & safety compliance services in Austin, TX.
We help companies manage OSHA laws in Texas.
OSHA consulting services in Austin, TX
OSHA compliance services in Austin, TX
OSHA training services & OSHA safety training in Austin, TX
Environmental compliance services in Austin, TX
Texas environmental regulations
Hazardous waste disposal services in Austin, TX
We can also help your company reduce EMR in Austin, TX
The Top 5 Most Dangerous EHS Compliance Mistakes Made By Small Companies
Learn How To Avoid Them & Reduce Your Risk
Learn the 5 most common and dangerous OSHA and EPA compliance mistakes by small companies. They often lead to disaster, including serious injuries, fatalities, huge fines, PR disasters, legal problems & more.
How A Sales Guy Transformed Into An Environmental, Health & Safety Expert & Advocate For Small Businesses
I've spent my entire 30+ year career working within the manufacturing and “industrial services” sectors.
The first 15 years of my career focused on sales of hazardous materials related products and services to the manufacturing sector, then for the last 16+ years transitioned into entrepreneurship, founding 3 small industrial services related contracting businesses. As you’ll see below, running these companies eventually lead me to found yet a 4th business, but more on that in a minute….
Here’s a brief description of the first 3 companies:
Berg Environmental Services, Inc.: hazardous waste disposal & transportation services, founded in August of 2003
3rd party wind energy operations & maintenance services provider to utility scale wind farms throughout the US, founded in September 2007
3rd party oil & gas exploration & production services provider, founded in August of 2011
Each of these companies operated in extremely dangerous working conditions and exposed my employees to a wide range of serious health & safety hazards on a daily basis.
To complicate matters, 2 of the companies also exposed the environment to significant potential harm.
In other words, I learned very early the critical importance of managing environmental, health and safety issues so as to ensure the safety of our employees and the environment, as well as minimizing related risks.
But I also learned how incredibly difficult and challenging this endeavor can be due to the wide range of complicated and continually changing environmental, health and safety rules and regulations that impacted the companies.
To summarize the challenges: First I had to determine which regulations applied to each company, then I had to build compliance programs to meet those regulations, and finally I had to ensure that the programs were being managed and followed by our staff on a daily basis.
All while trying to run and grow 3 profitable businesses….
It was overwhelming and I always struggled to keep up.
To make matters worse, throughout this time I also witnessed the devastating price that companies, management and ownership can pay for failing to manage EHS compliance.
This included seeing one of my hazardous waste management clients get sent to jail over environmental issues, another client’s management team threatened with jail time, a direct competitor get fined $378,000 by OSHA fine after an employee was nearly killed, and many others face major fines and penalties.
Full disclosure, one of my companies got fined by OSHA at one point, & another was cited by TCEQ, so I know how it feels.
In summary, I learned first hand how incredibly difficult it is for small companies to manage EHS compliance due to a common lack of the critical expertise, time and resources that are needed to keep up, and how this situation then ends up exposing them to these potentially catastrophic risks that can literally destroy lives and businesses.
This later inspired me to found my 4th company, Berg Compliance Solutions in 2012, which is dedicated to helping other small businesses, and business owners, to manage EHS compliance and risk.
BA, Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder, December, 1990.
Summary of Professional Experience & Qualifications:
30+ years serving the manufacturing & industrial services sectors
30+ years of sales and marketing experience
16+ years as small business owner & entrepreneur: Founded and operated 4 small businesses since 2003.
Environmental, Health & Safety Compliance & Program Related:
19 plus years of hazardous waste management including EPA, TCEQ & RCRA regulations
8 years of DOT/FMCSA compliance experience, including hazardous materials transportation
8 years of combined experience implementing and managing OSHA health and safety compliance programs for 2 high risk energy services businesses
Successfully implemented and gained ISO 9001 Quality Management
Certification and OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health & Safety Advisory Service) Certification for wind energy maintenance business.
Regulatory Enforcement Related Experience:
Served as expert witness in criminal environmental compliance enforcement cases
OSHA enforcement inspections, investigations and resolution in following industries: industrial services, manufacturing & construction.
TCEQ enforcement inspections, investigations and resolution in manufacturing.