It's true that you have a legal duty to ensure workplace health and safety. And it's true you'll be cited and penalized by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) if you don't.
But for a small business, OSHA regulations can be both unwieldy and costly. Between inspections and improvements, business owners often don't know where to start.
Luckily, there are some programs to help -- including a free on-site consultation provided by the Administration itself.
In fiscal year 2010, the program visited approximately 30,000 businesses. Free consultants offered confidential, non-punitive advice to small business owners like you.
That's right -- you will not be cited or penalized if your consultant finds you in violation of OSHA standards. Consultants are there to help get you up to par. They'll identify hazards, provide advice and help establish management systems. They'll even train your employees.
You'll save the expense of a private safety consultant.
But remember, you may still have work to do. Once you receive a detailed report of all findings, you'll be expected to make the necessary changes by an agreed upon date.
After all, the goal of the program is to help small businesses become OSHA compliant.
Once you've made any necessary changes, you may also want to enter OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). It's for elite employers only -- those with exemplary safety systems.
As if recognition isn't enough, membership in SHARP can result in lower insurance premiums, reduce turnover and increase the number of days workers are sick.
Are there any potential safety problems at your small business? OSHA wants to help, so let it.