Product Safety Budgeting

Product safety is not an item that should be the responsibility of the OSH department. It should be the responsibility of the product development, quality control, or consumer safety personnel within the company since the applicable standards are found in a regulatory arena different from either the environment or OSH. This not to suggest that EOSH professionals should not lend their expertise to other departments, when they can contribute. Product safety should not be part of the EOSH budget, as product safety does not deal with worker safety and health.

Compliance Factors

The OSHA database regarding the average cost of a citation can be used as a lever to get management's attention to the investment in safety and health requested in the budget. It is a real eye-opener for management when safety and health professionals can say that the cost of compliance is $500 for blood-borne pathogens and the average violation produces a fine of $1000 per citation. In addition, the OSH professionals can research the most frequent violation for their particular industry sector. In many cases, the most frequent violation is the requirement for a program and training under the hazard communication standard.

Using compliance is by far one of the best ways to justify expenditures. Some of the regulations that require programs for compliance are as follows:

  • • Personal protective equipment
  • • Respiratory protection program
  • • Hazmat program
  • • Employee emergency and fire prevention plans
  • • Blood-borne pathogen program
  • • Medical and first aid
  • • Ventilation systems

Some of the safety and health regulations require medical examinations to be in compliance, such as the following:

  • • Hearing examinations
  • • Hazardous materials and waste
  • • Respiratory clearance examinations

An OSHA violation or citation strikes fear into most employers and is an excellent lever to justify budget requests. Other such levers include the following:

  • • Cost of accidents and incidents
  • • Medical costs
  • • Workers' compensation costs
  • • Real dollar savings
  • • Loss of potential from not performing the action item
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