The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures that all employed Americans have access to a safe and healthy workplace. OSHA is a regulatory agency that seeks to ensure employee safety and redirect any employers that do not fully comply with safety standards. Employers at veterinary practices must be aware of OSHA regulations, so they can foster overall well-being in a work environment.
Knowledge of OSHA laws also works as a defense strategy. Veterinarians, in particular, can be targeted for random inspections and fined for noncompliance. However, inspections normally derive from worker’s compensation claims or employee complaints. Human standards do not apply to animal practices, but other general safety standards are regularly disregarded. Here are a few of the most common OSHA violations in vet practices to be aware of.
Human Food Found in Unsafe Areas
The risk of contamination is clear when human food, drinks, and staff lunches are put into the same fridge as animal medications or clinical supplies. Food and drinks should only be allowed in designated break rooms or lunchrooms. Samples for a lab, medications, or diagnostic tubs should be kept within their own refrigerator. Any overlap within the same area is a potential hazard and regarded as noncompliance.
Absence of a Solid Hazardous Communication Program
Another of the most common OSHA violations in vet practices is improper communication of hazardous material handling. Under the hazardous communications standard, OSHA mandates a structured and written communication program must be in place. This includes training, labeling, providing Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for staff knowledge, and supplying other important information. Most often, this standard is violated by the lack of labeling secondary containers or employee unawareness of where to access Safety Data Sheets.
Inadequate Documentation or Employee Training
Paperwork violations are no joke. The severity of noncompliance due to documentation is clear, so do your homework and keep a record of compliance with the proper OSHA forms. Clear signage and federal or state posters should be on display, and you should ensure good recordkeeping of any written-up incident or accident reports.
Regular, structured employee OSHA training is a safety requirement as well. New staff members must be trained about compliance immediately after hiring, alongside refresher training for all other employees throughout the year. A lack of signed documents that prove all employees’ attendance is a common OSHA violation committed by veterinary practices.
If you believe your vet practice, clinic, or hospital needs help to fully achieve OSHA compliance, Gamma Compliance Solutions has got you covered. We offer comprehensive online training courses and updated veterinary OSHA compliance manuals full of critical resources specific to your industry. Let us help you provide the safest workplace for your employees and avoid any potential OSHA violations in the future. Browse through our various packages today to find which one suits the needs of your office and team.