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The Incredibly Smart Way One Employer Handled an OSHA Visit

Reputation matters when OSHA comes knocking. Thanks to the quick response, good reputation, and respect local OSHA officials have for Sheakley’s Safety Team, we were able to help a pizza shop save $17,000 in fines. And it could have been a whole lot worse.

OSHA received a complaint from a frustrated employee about an exposed electrical panel on dough mixing equipment needed to perform his job. The mixer needed repairs, and the electric contractor who performed the service left the panel exposed not once (hey, thanks for coming out but next time be sure to close the panel). Not twice (we talked about this, please close the panel). But three times (this is really not ok)!

Responding to the complaint, OSHA pays a visit to this employer’s site, sees the exposed panel, and presents the employer with five serious citations. Each citation typically starts with a fine of $7,500 and goes up from there, so the total fine could have been as much as $70,000. However, since the employer fixed the issue immediately, this was a first time offense, and it was found only because an employee filed a complaint, the employer was charged $5,000 per citation for a total fine of $25,000. While significantly better than $70,000, that’s still a hefty fine.

The manager, Rob, immediately did the right thing and called their Sheakley rep, who introduced the employer to Joe, a consultant on the Sheakley Safety Team. Joe walked through the situation with Rob then reached out to OSHA with a request for an informal conference to contest the claim and show corrective action. Joe was able to lay out the case that being a first time offense, which was corrected on site, stemming from a complaint, and that Sheakley would guarantee documentation for correction as well as proper training. Altogether, Joe was able to reduce the fine from $25,000 to a total of just $8,000.

Thanks to Sheakley’s reputation for quality safety services and expertise, OSHA was confident that all proper follow-up would be done. Rob and Joe are now scheduling training for lock-out-tag-out procedures as well as general industry electrical safety through the Sheakley Safety Team.

It’s always better to prevent a situation like this and engage Sheakley for a safety consultation before a citation is issued. However, Sheakley clients benefit from the wide range of expertise available in-house. As a family owned and operated company, we consider our clients to be part of the family and we’ll go to great lengths to take care of our family.

If you’re not part of the Sheakley family, click here for more information. Ohio employers can also click here to request a free workers’ comp and safety savings analysis. With options beyond just the standard Third Party Administrative (TPA) services, Sheakley has more ways to help your business than any other TPA.

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