Employers who want help in recognizing and correcting safety and health hazards and in improving their safety and health programs may obtain it from a free consultation service largely funded by OSHA. The service is delivered by state governments using well-trained professional staff.
To increase the usefulness of this effort, OSHA recently broadened the scope of these services. The program not only addresses immediate problems but also offers more advice and help in maintaining continued protection.
In addition to helping employers identify and correct specific hazards, consultants provide guidance in establishing or improving an effective safety and health program and offer training and education for the employer, supervisors and employees.
The service is given primarily at the worksite, but limited services may be provided elsewhere.
Primarily targeted for smaller businesses in higher hazard industries or with especially hazardous operations, the safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the inspection effort. In addition, no citations are issued or penalties proposed.
The service is confidential, too. The name of the employer, and any information about the workplace, plus any unsafe or unhealthy working conditions the consultant uncovers, will not be reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff.
The only obligation for the employer is a commitment to correct imminent dangers and other serious job safety and health hazards in a timely manner. This commitment must be made before the visit by the consultant. Consultation is a cooperative approach to solving safety and health problems in the workplace. As a voluntary activity, it is neither automatic nor unexpected. You must request it.
When hazards in the workplace and ways to remedy them are known, the employer will be in a better position to comply with job safety and health requirements.
The more an employer knows about the safety and health aspects of the operations of the company - and ways to improve them - the better the firm can be managed.
Consultation is a cooperative approach to solving safety and health problems in the workplace. As a voluntary activity, it is neither automatic nor unexpected. You must request it. The obligation for the employer is a commitment to correct in a timely manner all job safety and health hazards that are found during the consultation visit. The commitment must be made prior to the visit by the consultant.