Small businesses are vital to the U.S. Economy. Consider the following, small firms: represent more than 99.7% of all employers; employ more than half of all private sector employees; pay 44.5% of the total U.S. private payroll; and generate 60 to 80% of net new jobs annually.
It is difficult for small businesses to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses, however. Owners and managers of such organizations usually cannot hire staff devoted to safety and health activities, and may not be aware of the safety and health resources available to them.
Fortunately, OSHA offers numerous resources to small businesses designed to promote the safety and health of their most valuable asset, their employees! These resources can be found at the OSHA Small Business web page.
The information below is intended to acquaint you with and provide immediate access to the most popular OSHA materials for small businesses, including information regarding the OSHA Small Business Handbook, compliance assistance resources, free on-site consultation services, interactive computer software and other key resources that will not only improve your workers’ safety and health, but will also bolster your bottom line.
What OSHA Resources Are Available to Small Businesses?
1. OSHA Small Business Handbook. The OSHA Small Business Handbook is intended to provide owners, proprietors and managers of small businesses with assistance in meeting the legal requirements imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act and its implementing regulations. The materials in this handbook are based upon Federal OSHA standards and other requirements and upon generally accepted principles and activities within the job safety and health field. They should be useful to small business owners and managers and can be adapted easily to individual establishments.
2. OSHA’s $afety Pays Program. OSHA's "$afety Pays" program is an interactive expert system designed to assist employers in estimating the costs of occupational injuries and illnesses and their impact on a company's profitability. This system uses a company's profit margin, the AVERAGE costs of an injury or illness, and an indirect cost multiplier to project the amount of sales a company would need to generate in order to cover those costs. Businesses can use this information to predict the direct and indirect impact of injuries and illnesses and the estimated sales needed to compensate for potential losses.
3. OSHA On-Site Consultation. OSHA's On-Site Consultation Service offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Using a free consultation service largely funded by OSHA, employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.
Primarily targeted to smaller businesses, this safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort. In addition, no citations are issued or penalties proposed. Your only obligation will be to commit yourself to correcting identified serious job safety and health hazards in a timely manner.
For information on how you can take advantage of this program, please click here.
4. OSHA Small Business Tools. OSHA’s Office of Small Business Assistance has compiled a menu of Small Business Tools that provide compliance assistance to small businesses on a wide variety of safety and health topics. This web page provides links to programs and services particularly tailored to small businesses including the OSHA Compliance Assistance Quick Start, which is a valuable resource designed to introduce employers to those standards and safety and health issues with which they must comply.
5. Hispanic Safety. OSHA’s web page on Compliance Assistance for Hispanic Employers and Workers provides a wealth of resources in Spanish that promote worker safety and health. In addition, the OSHA Hispanic Safety web page provides access to a number of materials developed by the Agency’s On-site Consultation project including links to model safety and health programs in Spanish, resources that focus on warehouse safety and other Spanish safety and health training programs.