Aug. 31 2017 03:00 AM

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is encouraging business owners to take advantage of their Onsite Consultation Program, and they have some compelling reasons why. Landscape contractors already make safety their top priority, due to all of the dangers inherent to our work, and the program offers owners a chance to double-check their practices.

A visit from OSHA might seem like an invitation to be fined, but visits through the program are free, voluntary and confidential. Trained consultants from state agencies or universities work with a business to identify workplace hazards and develop injury- and illness-prevention programs.

An inspection through the program is focused on prevention, not enforcement, and companies aren’t penalized for any non-compliance identified on a visit, nor will they be reported to OSHA enforcement staff. Mechanical hazards, environmental hazards and physical work practices are all reviewed, and the consultant recommends fixes for any potential red flags.

On average, 93 Americans were killed on the job each week of 2015, and being a landscape crew member consistently ranks high on lists of dangerous occupations. According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, sick or injured workers cost our country’s employers $62 billion per year. If you have concerns about your safety procedures, or just want to make sure you pass muster, an onsite consultation may be just the ticket.