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Do It Yourself Osha Inspection


Special Report (Enterprise) IN BOX

DO-IT-YOURSELF OSHA INSPECTION

When General Magnaplate Corp. moved a fire extinguisher just a few feet in its small Linden (N.J.) plant, it generated a paper trail long enough to do a bureaucracy proud.Which was just the point.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is observing the metal-parts maker and three nearby plants to see if they can monitor their own OSHA compliance--a privilege long reserved for big factories. If the program works, OSHA will extend it to the safest small businesses nationwide. Attention to the regs is supposed to reduce workplace hazards that cost small plants tens of millions in fines. And self-audits will free up OSHA inspectors. Also, "you get a banner and a ceremony," says Wayne Cromwell, General Magnaplate's operations manager.

Pressure to expand the Voluntary Protection Program came from last summer's White House Conference on Small Business. OSHA'S one condition: Companies need a mentor. All four pilot plants are disciples of Exxon Chemical Co. up the road. Soon, they'll be training peers. "It will create a domino effect," says Cathy Oliver of OSHA.EDITED BY I. JEANNE DUGANReturn to top

TABLE

Hazardous Waste

Small plants accounted for most of OSHA's proposed penalties in 1995

1-100 WORKERS MORE THAN

100 WORKERS

INSPECTIONS 73,485 13,967

VIOLATIONS 201,014 47,253

FINES $92,146,035 $39,999,273

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