Small Businesses Safer Because of Protection Program

Missouri program helped improve safety

  • A workplace safety program has helped correct more than 6,200 hazards and saved small businesses in Missouri a projected $26.7 million in federal fines over the past two years.
  • The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, or SHARP, encourages employers to develop and maintain systems for managing workplace safety and health.
  • In exchange, the business is exempt from certain inspections from inspections conducted by OSHA for up to three years.
  • Still, only 31 out of 120,000 small businesses in the state of Missouri participated in the program.
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Incidents at county office building lead to safety inspection

  • Michigan workplace safety inspectors are investigating incidents of shattered windows, a set-off fire extinguisher, and fights in a government building in downtown Ann Arbor.
  • Violent incidents at the county annex building bubbled up in the summer of 2022 to a degree not observed in the past, the documents show, with employees and administrators pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as a cause.
  • The MIOSHA investigation found no violation of workplace safety regulations.
  • Nonetheless, county officials implemented numerous training and security updates in response to employee concerns.
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OSHA to scrutinize government program

  • The Star Program recognizes workplaces with strong safety programs and rewards them by curtailing the number of times government regulators show up randomly.
  • The program is based on the theory that motivating companies to adhere to best practices on their own is more effective than punishing them when they fail.
  • However, some of the Star Program facilities use asbestos and received limited unannounced OSHA visits.
  • Now, OSHA is looking at ways to protect workers from occupational exposure to asbestos moving forward.
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Company cited for explosion risk

  • OSHA found Sumitomo Bakelite North American Inc. — operating as Durez Corp. in Kenton — failed to follow required safety measures to protect workers from the dangers of chemical exposure and potential explosion.
  • OSHA opened an investigation in December 2022 and found the company did not prevent resin accumulations from exposing control room workers to respiratory and fire hazards.
  • The agency cited Durez Corp. for one willful violation for its failure to ensure the HVAC system effectively maintained a positive pressure on the control room and automatically shut off in the event of a formaldehyde release, which could lead to an explosion.
  • OSHA has proposed penalties of $171,884.
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