A motor carrier specializing in transportation and logistics recently took on new business that required them to perform an unloading procedure dictated by the customer. This unloading procedure had been in place for years and was actually developed for the customer by its previous hauler. In adopting these new procedures, the motor carrier didn’t identify any safety hazards with the unloading process. They were well-versed in the DOT requirements, but OSHA job site safety regulations were not part of its normal working environment.
Upon an inspection by OSHA, the motor carrier was cited with several violations and levied serious fines. The motor carrier notified its customer, who was equally surprised, and the unloading procedure was modified to ensure it was in compliance with OSHA regulations. But the damage was done and both the motor carrier and its customer learned a lesson the hard way.
The moral of the story is that a lack of knowledge regarding the OSHA regulations is no excuse for non-compliance. Non-exempt motor carriers are required to comply with the OSHA General Industry standards established in 29 CFR 1910, especially if it operates a maintenance shop, works with hazardous materials, or handles freight. In the example above, the motor carrier was cited for violations found most frequently, such as failure to use fall protection, inadequate hazard communication, no lockout/tagout procedures, and a lack of ladder safety training. The incident certainly caught management’s attention and prompted them to address safe work practices with their staff.
Regulatory compliance, be it with OSHA standards, FMCSA regulations, or other agencies, is required and should be part of every motor carrier’s risk management strategy. At Joe Morten & Son, Inc., our Risk Management Specialist, Larry Barton, has a variety of resources he can provide to assist with training and education on this topic.
Likewise, motor carriers can contact local OSHA professionals to ask for guidance. OSHA will even conduct an informal mock inspection to help companies identify violations without repercussions. More information can be found at www.osha.gov.
Remember, proactive steps to prevent employee injuries and illnesses not only helps the company avoid fines but protects its most important asset: employees.
Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.
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Risk Management Specialist | Joe Morten & Son, Inc.
O: 865.392.3777 | C: 865.771.9506