Note: Details such as places, times, dates, etc. may have been changed to protect client privacy.
$3,000 investment in new safety manual and safety training nets a $30,000 reduction in OSHA penalties for company in Florida!
In the spring of 2017, I received a call from a business owner in Florida. A disgruntled employee had filed an OSHA complaint, and when OSHA arrived, they found a company with no safety training, programs, records, etc.
From his description of the inspection, I knew that he was going to get many citations and there wouldn’t be much to argue or contest. So we knew we would have to throw ourselves on the mercy of the court – so to speak. But to do this, we would have to demonstrate an exceptional amount of good faith. We would have to go beyond bare minimum requirements and start addressing safety issues throughout the operation, even the ones that weren’t cited by OSHA. We needed to show that we were good corporate citizens who had seen the light.
We wrote a complete safety manual over the course of 3-4 video conferences. I flew to Florida and we trained employees. We started a record keeping system. We started a housekeeping system, we ordered new machine guards. A safety committee was formed and trained. We went well beyond what we were required to do.
When the citations arrived, we analyzed each item. We found a few items that likely should have been grouped together into one item with one fine. We found citations for items that were no longer in use. Most of all, we demonstrated that we had learned our lesson and that OSHA would never find the company in that condition again.
OSHA heard our message loud and clear. They did this because we showed them that we deserved a break. When it was all said and done, the company’s $3,000 investment in consulting services netted them a $30,000 reduction in fines.
MN company turns $900 investment in OSHA consulting fees into $3,200 OSHA penalty reduction
We recently provided safety consulting service to a very small manufacturing company in the Northern suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. They had recently been inspected by OSHA and fined about $6,300. We worked with them to resolve several of the issues related to missing safety programs and safety training, but more importantly, we reviewed the citations and identified a few opportunities to contest. We spent some time coaching the owner through the process of contesting. In the end, their fines were reduced by 50%. Their investment in our services was about $900, but it resulted in a savings of about $3,200. That’s a return on investment of 255%.
$200 investment in safety consulting results in a $2,000 penalty reduction for MN company
An employer south of St. Paul, Minnesota needed a safety consultant after receiving an OSHA citation. Like many employers, they didn’t know what to do next, or what their options were. The President of the company wanted to pay the full $5,600 penalty and move on, but the Human Resources Manager wanted to get more opinions and learn more about our safety consulting services. Considering the President’s opinion, we agreed that an on-site visit wasn’t necessary. So we reviewed all the citations and other materials via email and phone. In the end, we gave them advice and instructions that led to a 37% reduction in their fines (that’s more than $2,000!). Their total investment in our service was $200 for phone consulting. That’s a 900% return on investment.
MN safety consultant helps company get reduction in OSHA fines after employee complaint
Sotera Consulting was contracted by a small manufacturing company north of the twin cities in Minnesota. They had recently been inspected by OSHA after an employee complaint and they were looking for OSHA consulting services. The inspection uncovered numerous violations. They received a citation with 13 violations and a total fine of about $6,400. They contracted with us to develop a a few of the written programs that were absent (AWAIR, Hazard Communication, Respiratory Protection), as well as some safety training. More importantly, they also asked us to review the citation for accuracy, and make recommendations about contesting it. We found two violations that likely should have been combined into a single fine, and one more that didn’t apply. We also advised the client on requesting penalty reductions. In the end, their investment in our services was about $1,000 and it resulted in a penalty reduction of about $3,100. That’s a 200% return on investment.
MN company saves 50% on safety training costs by working with Sotera safety consultant
Sotera Consulting was contacted by a small employer in the twin cities metro area to conduct OSHA safety training on a few topics. This company had used another safety consultant in the past, but they were looking for a new OSHA safety training partner because employees found the previous safety consultant to be extremely dry and uninteresting. After talking with the client and employees about how we could dramatically improve the training, we presented the same topics to their employees in about 25% less time and for about half the cost as the previous consultant. More importantly, the employees found the training to be much more interesting and entertaining than it had been in the past. The employer received comments from employees including “This was a HUGE improvement”, “This was hands-down the best safety training we’ve ever had”, and “the training was funny, interesting, and informative”. The previous safety consultant had charged the company about $1,000 for this training. We charged $550. That’s a savings of almost 50%. Furthermore, we took less time to cover the same information so employees lost less production time, and the training was better received by the staff.
Minnesota contractor becomes eligible to bid on huge projects after working with our safety consultant on written programs, safety manual, and safety training
A remodeling contractor in southern Minnesota contacted us about helping them with their safety program. They had a long, successful history with a builder, but for insurance purposes, the builder wanted the company to develop some of the written programs that they were required to have, and provide some mandatory training. Without the required written safety programs and safety training, the builder would no longer be able to bid on jobs. The remodeling contractor formed a “safety committee” to develop these programs and training, but after months of work, they were hopelessly mired in confusion about what exactly was required and how to accomplish it, and the builder was getting frustrated with delays. They were in danger of having tens of thousands of dollars of bids rejected because they couldn’t pass the safety qualification process. We met with the committee several times, and within two weeks we developed all of the required programs for less than $1,200. As a result, they were able to bid on, and win bids for nearly $50,000 worth of work.
Auditing client’s lockout/tagout programs, procedures, training…from 400 miles away
While most of our clients are based in the Minneapolis and southern MN area, we do work frequently with clients all over the Midwest via email, web, and video conferencing. One such client contacted us from the Chicago area. For years, they had used an internal employee to manage their lockout/tagout program, but after that employee left, they had reason to believe that their compliance with the Lockout/Tagout regulation needed to be be evaluated. We audited their written lockout/tagout program and procedures, but most importantly, we reviewed the quality of their lockout/tagout training. We conducted an online, anonymous survey of their employees and found that the training that had been done was rife with errors and generally poor training methods, we also found that their program and procedures were considered by employees to be extremely confusing. We tested the employees’ knowledge of the lockout/tagout regulation and the company’s program and procedures. Their average score was 47%. After redesigning the program, and procedures to make them less confusing, the company retrained all employees using new, revised materials that we designed and a new internal trainer. We then re-tested the employees with the same test that we had administered before. Their average score was 87%. The company’s total investment in our services (to review existing program, procedures and safety training, and redesign as needed, and develop and conduct online anonymous surveys and tests) was less than $2,000.