Preparing for OSHA

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 10.02.09

One of the nightmares that any company can face is a visit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). When OSHA makes a call, an unprepared company may find itself facing, at the very least, fines and potentially more visits.

What makes such a visit even more daunting is that OSHA has cut back on its random visits a bit, instead concentrating on employee complaints and accidents.

However, the key word there is “unprepared.” Leading environmental and safety experts in the printing ink industry agree that the better prepared a company is, the more likely it will pass an OSHA inspection with no problems.

A lot of sage advice from leading industry experts can be found in “When OSHA Comes to the Door” (p. 19). First, it is imperative that companies prepare a written Hazard Communication plan for employees. This entails a number of areas, such as protective clothing, training, even labeling containers and understanding manufacturer’s safety data sheets (MSDS). Gary Reniker, director of safety at INX International, compiled a list of the top 10 offenses in the industry, and Hazard Communication was four of the top 10. Machine guarding and lockout/tagout are two other areas that arealso often cited by OSHA, and account for the largest fines.Preparing employees for what they work with seems an easy task that any company can do.

Large corporations usually have full-time people to handle regulatory matters. For smaller companies, taking sensible steps can help. The National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) is an excellent resource, and there is a wealth of information on the Internet.

Ultimately, a company that is well prepared for a visit from OSHA is a company whose employees are well protected. That should be the goal of every company.

On a different note, as times change, so must Ink World magazine. With that in mind, this month marks our first issue without the traditional reader’s service card and numbers. Readership surveys and anecdotal studies alike have shown that reader service cards have become antiquated, as potential customers respond to what they see in ads and articles through phone calls, faxes or the Internet.

In order to best serve our readers, Ink World will now offer a hot link list of the issue’s advertisers on our web site, www.inkworldmagazine.com. While there, please check out our breaking news items, which may help you make the decisions you need to run a successful ink business.
David Savastano
Ink World Editor