You don’t have to be in the hotel business to understand why the Erin Andrews case has really opened up quite a discussion in the world of HR and OSHA compliance. Ms. Andrews was video taped nude without her knowledge by a stalker who obtained her name and room number from the hotel staff. We talk a lot about OSHA compliance for our employees and HIPAA for our patients, employees and some of our customers. But, how are we viewing the entire scope of safety and security in the workplace?
OSHA and HIPAA have thousands of pages of laws we must obey in various parts of our business. Heck, OSHA even has a law that basically says, “If we didn’t write a law, but decide it’s a hazard, then we will fine you anyway.” It’s called the General Duty Clause… look it up.
Regarding any sort of violence taking place in the workplace OSHA says this:
“There are currently no specific standards for workplace violence. However, under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.”
The courts have interpreted OSHA’s general duty clause to mean that an employer has a legal obligation to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard.
An employer that has experienced acts of workplace violence, or becomes aware of threats, intimidation, or other indicators showing that the potential for violence in the workplace exists, would be on notice of the risk of workplace violence and should implement a workplace violence prevention program combined with engineering controls, administrative controls, and training.”
So, we must provide training and education – by law – to our employees or risk hefty OSHA fines. BUT, make no mistake about the real reason we must provide training and education. It’s the right thing to do.
When I start talking about training and education many employers get a little nervous. Small businesses are barely making it these days. Heaping on another set of costly responsibilities is not always welcome news. So, what’s an employer to do? My suggestion for the least expensive approach is eLearning.
Create an online learning library. It doesn’t have to be huge and costly. But, you will need to be able to document your training for each of your employees. Tracking your training via an online service or a Learning Management System (LMS) is a very responsible and low cost way to get the job done. Plus, eLearning can be created in-house using PowerPoint if you have an employee to spare for this task. You can get a monthly subscription to an LMS that will host your training courses for a fairly low monthly fee. Or, get an LMS subscription that comes with pre-made eLearning courses and then supplement your “site-specific” information by conducting regular safety meetings. These meetings don’t have to be lengthy and can be taught by anyone you deem competent to do the job right. Plus, the LMS training will have more than safety courses. You will very likely also get courses over harassment, communication, management, conflict resolution and many other necessary topics.
How much? Bottom line? Well, prices vary. I know some really cool LMS training that starts at $199 per employee / per year. The more employees you have the lower the price. I know another that will provide you with thousands of courses for less than $75 per employee / year. You just have to shop it out and decide what is best for you. Drop me an email and I can give you more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, make sure you are doing all you can to take care of the people who make your business thrive – inside and out.
Until Next Time, Be Audit-Secure!