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OSHA for Small Businesses

OSHA for Small Business, Safety Training, Compliance, OSHA Training

Joe Powder

We covered some things to be aware of for small businesses in a previous blog “Don’t let your TRIR take you down”, but we thought the topic was so important we developed an OSHA for small businesses training specifically for small businesses dealing with safety compliance. 

 When it comes to OSHA for small businesses, one serious workplace injury or illness can have a devastating impact, including an increase in TRIR(total recordable incident rate), workers’ compensation premiums, medical expenses, legal fees, replacement worker training, lost productivity, equipment repairs, and lower worker morale.. Prevention is the only real way to avoid this loss. Therefore, implementing an effective safety and health program helps businesses to:

  • Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses 
  • Improve compliance with laws and regulations 
  • Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums 
  • Engage workers 
  • Enhance social responsibility goals 
  • Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations

Accidents always have a cause, or a reason why the incident occurred. By knowing why accidents occur, future incidents can be prevented. Implementing a Safety Program starts with assessing each job task, gathering basic facts about each process, and collecting input from workers familiar with those tasks.

Using job hazard analysis to develop a prevention plan is a critical step in implementing an effective Health and Safety Program. The basic goal of a JHA is to identify the types of accidents and health hazards that could occur in the workplace. As every workplace is unique, it should address the specific requirements. 

4 Key components of an effective health and safety program include:

  1. Management Commitment and Employee Involvement. The manager or management team leads the way, by setting policy, assigning and supporting responsibility, setting an example and involving employees.
  2. Worksite Analysis. The worksite is continually analyzed to identify all existing and potential hazards.
  3. Hazard Prevention and Control. Methods to prevent or control existing or potential hazards are put in place and maintained.
  4. Training for Employees, Supervisors and Managers. Managers, supervisors and employees are trained to understand and deal with worksite hazards.

Document the activities in all elements of the Four-Point Workplace Program. Essential records, including those legally required for workers’ compensation, insurance audits and government inspections must be maintained if the actual need exists or is required by law. Keeping records of activities, such as policy statements, training sessions, safety and health meetings, information distributed to employees, and medical arrangements made, is greatly encouraged and helps show proof of these items if later needed for OSHA compliance or when requested by your clients/customers.

 Records of accidents, related injuries, illnesses and property losses enable the owner or manager to learn from experience and to make corrections for future operations. The primary purpose of OSHA-required recordkeeping is to retain information about accidents to help determine the causes and develop procedures to prevent a recurrence.

Injury Illness Record-Keeping for Small Businesses

OSHA rules for recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses affect 1.4 million establishments. Small businesses with 10 or fewer employees throughout the year are exempt from most of the requirements of the OSHA recordkeeping rules, as are several specific industries in the retail, service, finance, insurance and real estate sectors that are classified as low-hazard. 

Detailed information about OSHA recordkeeping rules can be found at or refer to 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1904 for the specific exceptions. OSHA recordkeeping can help the small business employer evaluate the success of safety and health activities. Success can be measured by a reduction or elimination of employee injuries and illnesses during a calendar year.

Make sure that the proper information is being recorded, because not all incidents meet the OSHA definition of a recordable incident. It is good practice to protect your employees by filling out a report for every incident including first aid only cases. However, first aid only cases are not considered “recordable” cases and should not be reported on the OSHA 300 and 300A logs. If you’re uncertain of whether an incident should be recorded, be sure to follow OSHA’s definition of recordable cases found here. Or feel free to give us a call. JJ Safety is happy to research the case for you. 

OSHA’s Guide for Small Business

OSHA has checklists specifically for small businesses to help you get started. They have a General Checklist and more specific ones as well for things like compressed gas cylinders, electrical safety, and Emergency planning just to name a few. 

OSHA also offers help through on-site consultants, fact sheets, quick cards and other helpful resources. 

However, if you need to develop your full health and safety program or Safety Manual, JJ Safety can help. We can help develop a written program for you and help get a safety training program in place for your company as well. We currently assist over 5,000 contractors with safety compliance, safety training, ISNetworld Compliance and Avetta compliance and compliance and certification for other online safety prequalification and audit platforms. 

Give 833-277-7022 or email us at to learn more.

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