Avoiding OSHA Violations in the Dry Cleaning Industry: Part 1
Dry cleaners are, unfortunately, no stranger to employee injury. Dry cleaners work with potentially hazardous equipment and solvents, keeping them at the top of OSHA inspector’s radars when it comes to conducting inspections. Dry cleaners should be familiar with the various violation risks they face when it comes to OSHA compliance. While financially protecting themselves with the appropriate Fabricare Industry Insurance Policy is a good first step, dry cleaners should also do everything in their power to reduce employee injury exposures, and thus reduce their chances of facing an OSHA violation.
What steps can you start taking today to ensure that your dry cleaning OSHA violation risks are as low as possible? First you should understand the top reasons for OSHA violations; lockout/tagout failure and failure to maintain adequate Hazard Communication (HazCom) programs being two of them. Lockout/tagout refers to the shutting down of heavy machinery and equipment before performing any routine maintenance or service. HazCom communications means that employees who could be exposed to hazardous solvents in the workplace have a right to know about it, and have a right to know how to protect themselves.
Another common hazard in the dry cleaning industry is exposure to blood borne pathogens, which are infectious microorganisms present in blood that can cause disease in humans. Hepatitis and HIV are among the top concerns; dry cleaners should always wear disposable gloves or similar protection when handling incoming garments and provide adequate training for identifying needle prick exposure if medical garments and/or linens are being processed. Failure to provide this type of training and protection for your employees could definitely result in an OSHA fine.
The above mentioned risks are not the only hazards dry cleaners face, and not the only reasons that dry cleaners could find themselves facing OSHA fines. In part two of this post, we will further explore different OSHA violations, how they relate to dry cleaners, and how you could potentially avoid them.
At Irving Weber Associates, Inc. we understand the unique risks faced by dry cleaners. Our Fabricare Advantage insurance program has offered Dry Cleaner Insurance, Commercial Launderer Insurance, Linen Supply Insurance and Uniform Rental Insurance since 1946. For more information about our various programs and coverages, please contact us today at (855) 764-7406.