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Texas Manufacturing: 6 Ways to Keep OSHA Happy This Year

Three brewery workers enjoy a beer in front of the stills

Texas manufacturing is soaring, with production hitting an 11-year high in December. From Dallas to Seguin, Brownville to Beaumont, growth in the Texas manufacturing economic output over the past decade was more than double U.S. manufacturing gains.

Most manufacturing jobs in Texas are heavy industrial and large-scale: chemical products, computer and electronic parts, petroleum and coal production, machinery, fabricated metal, and motor vehicles and parts. However, business-friendly regulations, tax incentives and advances in technology mean more local businesses—large or small—are manufacturing their own goods right here in Texas, from jewelry to cold-brewed coffee.

Once you start manufacturing products, regulations under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) become increasingly relevant. No U.S. employer is outside OSHA’s regulations since it oversees all workplace health and safety hazards but, since manufacturing workers can face an elevated risk of serious injuries and exposure to unsafe environments and work practices, manufacturers are especially vulnerable.

Every year, OSHA releases a report on the top 10 violations for which employers have been cited. The most recent top citations include:

  1. Fall protection violations—failing to provide correct safety gear, prevention measures like guardrails, and training to prevent falls.
  2. Hazard communication violations—failing to label hazardous containers or provide safety data sheets and training.
  3. Respiratory violations—failing to have a written respiratory-protection program and failing to conduct required medical examinations for workers who use respirators.
  4. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations—failing to provide, train workers or conduct periodic inspections on machine safeguards.
  5. Forklift use violations—forklift drivers must be trained and re-certified every three years.
  6. Electrical wiring methods—believe it or not, the improper use of extension cords is a frequent violation.

Avoid these mistakes, and you’re well on your way to keeping OSHA happy this year. It’s also important to stay on top of changing OSHA regulations, both in general and within your specific industry and state. For instance:

  • Injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting requirements recently changed for most employers with more than ten employees. This includes new rules on submitting records online.
  • Enforcement often follows the crowd so, as industries become popular, OSHA is bound to show up to the party. Keep an eye on news from organizations within your industry, like Austin Regional Manufacturers Association (ARMA) if you’re an Austin-area manufacturer.
  • Additional regulations can be in place in some states. For instance, increased citations are being issued to California employers for not exceeding federal OSHA standards on first-aid kits in the workplace (kits in California must contain a note from a “consulting physician” approving its contents).

Manufacturing & Operations staffing partners like The HT Group can help keep employees safe and take some of the compliance burden off your shoulders by consulting and managing certain OSHA compliance factors for you. Contact us with any questions on how a staffing partner can help you keep OSHA grinning from ear to ear.

 

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