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:
OSHA has a library of industry-based training resources, developed by trade associations and universities across the US.
Some of the industries include:
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 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:
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 information and tools to prevent back injuries or to prepare employees for physical exertion
Ergonomic solutions for small businesses
Ergonomic solutions for specific industries
Measuring the cost and benefits of ergonomic changes and muscular-skeletal injuries
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.
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: