Safety Tools
Free OSHA Safety and Health Management Training for Small Business

OSHA Safety & Health Management Systems for Small Businesses is free, online, self-instructional, classroom-quality training developed by North Carolina State University and funded by OSHA. This program is designed to assist your business in developing and implementing an effective, in-house, safety and health management system that is:

  • Easy to develop
  • Reflects your way of doing business
  • Based on specific needs of your workplace

Click here to go to the online course

Industry-Focused Safety Training Resources

OSHA has a library of industry-based training resources, developed by trade associations and universities across the US.

Some of the industries include:

Free OSHA Safety Consultation

Montana offers free OSHA Consultation to help identify and correct safety or health hazards and to develop an accident prevention program. Businesses will NOT be fined if problems are found. You are not required to comply with their recommendations unless they identify a clearly dangerous problem. For more information, visit http://erd.dli.mt.gov/safety-and-health/safety-consultation-program.html.

SHARP: Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program

Your business can be recognized for its safety program though the OSHA Sharp Program. Click here to find out the benefits of the SHARP Program. Contact the Montana OSHA Consultation Services to participate.

Larger business? Participate in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP)

OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program involves developing a safety and health management system for your workplace. Click here for OSHA VPP information.

Ergonomics Center

Ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities. It is also the study of efficiency in working environments. Both definitions appear when you search for the definition of "ergonomics" online.

This means that both businesses and employees benefit from ergonomic solutions. For employees, work becomes easier with less potential for injury. For businesses, employees become more efficient, which improves the business' bottom line.

Before you begin with solutions - here is some information about the problem:

  • Back injuries are the leading cause of disability for people under 35 and the most expensive injury for people ages 35-50.
  • 23% of workers compensation claims are for lower-back injuries.
  • 87% of over-exertion injuries come from improperly handling materials.
  • Workers compensation premiums pay for direct costs; but indirect costs for finding someone else to do the work, paying for the employee's downtoime before workers compensation, etc. are paid by employers. Both costs easily reach $20,000 per injury.

Click here for more information from OR-OSHA's Introduction to Ergonomics in the Workplace. This publication has information showing the impact of injuries on a business' profitability.

Ergonomic tools for jobs involving repetitive motion or sitting all day

Ergonomic Stretch Breaks for Employees from University of Virginia

Computer Workstation Self-Evaluation

Recommendations for Computer Users from Cornell University

Computer User Heaven: 8 Exercises That Spell Relief

Easy Ergonomics

Ergonomics in Action

Fitting the Task to the Person

Easy Ergonomics for Desktop Computer Users

Ergonomic information and tools to prevent back injuries or to prepare employees for physical exertion

Lifting Guideline Tool

Dynamic exercises - to prepare your body for physical motion

Lifting calculator, pushing & pulling calculator, and checklists

Push, Pull, Carry calculator

Back Injury Prevention Guide for Health Care

Ergonomic solutions for small businesses

Small business ergonomics: 32 examples, solutions and cost/benefit analyses

Ergonomic solutions for specific industries

Industry-specific ergonomic tools - find your industry here

Best practices in ergonomics for health care and manufacturing

Ergonomic Injury Prevention in Healthcare Service

Laboratory Workstation Evaluation Checklist

Ergonomics Ideas Bank

OSHA ergonomic e-tools for:

  • Baggage handling
  • Beverage delivery
  • Computer workstations
  • Electrical contractors
  • Grocery warehousing
  • Printing industry
  • Sewing

Measuring the cost and benefits of ergonomic changes and muscular-skeletal injuries

Safety Pays! Calculator from OSHA analyzing the direct and indirect cost of common workplace injuries

Ergonomics cost/benefits calculator from Washington State

Cost benefit research showing employee efficiency improvements from ergonomic solutions

Workers Compensation

Workers compensation insurance is required for all Montana employers. Premiums are based on the job each employee performs and their total wages. Each year you must submit a payroll report to your workers compensation provider to verify the premiums paid.

Business owners may elect not to cover themselves, by filing an exemption certificate form with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. Click here to go to the forms.

Most small employers obtain workers compensation insurance through Montana State Fund. You can get coverage from them or another company through your local insurance broker or directly. There is no difference in cost.

Here is the link to Montana State Fund. The application form can be found under Forms, when you scroll down to the bottom of the screen.

Montana State Fund has a program for small businesses with no claims. These businesses are refunded part of their workers compensation premiums. Click here for more information about the Montana Small Business Group Program.

Controlling Workers Compensation Costs

Ask your workers compensation carrier for a list of the most common claims for your industry and take action to prevent those accidents. For example, slip and fall accidents are the most frequent cause of claims for restaurants and the second highest for retail stores. Employers can reduce claims by requiring employees to wear slip-resistant shoes.

Keep good relations with management and employees. Employees are more likely to file workers compensation claims if they are angry or want to punish management.

The Hartford has highlighted 9 ways to limit workers compensation costs, with action steps for each. These include:

  1. Require employees to report all accidents or illnesses immediately. Statistics show that the sooner they get prompt, appropriate care, the less likely they are to sue and have lengthy recovery times.
  2. Focus on getting injured employees back to work quickly and safely.
  3. Control employees' exposure to workplace contaminants
  4. Pay attention to ergonomics
  5. Make safety everyone's job
  6. Evaluate the air quality in your building
  7. Evaluate material handling practices
  8. Minimize the risk of slips and falls
  9. Use proper machine guards to protect employees