November 22, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.
By Alec Doniger.
Trent Cotney shares his knowledge and expertise in avoiding legal trouble related to risk and liability on the job site.
Safety should be your top priority when overseeing employees on any job site. If an accident happens, however, knowing your rights and thinking ahead can help reduce the likelihood that you’ll receive a citation from OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Trent Cotney, from Adams and Reese, is an expert in risk management. With his extensive experience with OSHA, Trent shares the potential reasons a company might receive an OSHA citation in a recent RLW webinar.
There are two big takeaways one could glean from Trent’s presentation – be prepared and tell the truth.
“If you don’t take anything [else] away from today’s talk, go back to your office and make sure that you start back-filling your documentation,” Trent says.
Having documentation that represents the safety standards at your workplace is the only proof that your company takes safety seriously. Your safety-related documentation is definitive preparation for an OSHA inspection.
Even if you have had accidents that would make you a candidate for an OSHA citation, be honest. OSHA doesn’t take well to dishonesty. If you try to cover up an accident, OSHA will not have your trust, resulting in more severe consequences than if you simply told the truth.
Having knowledge of your rights is another key factor in saving your company from citations. Trent even shares a real-life anecdote wherein his knowledge protected him. “I was representing a contractor… and the assistant area director contacted me and said, ‘We would like to go out to one of your client’s job sites, have them cut tile so we could measure silica.’ And I just simply responded, ‘No.’” OSHA threatened him with a warrant, but he never received one.
Because of Trent’s generosity and willingness to share his expertise, roofers all over the country are more prepared than ever for OSHA inspections. Awareness, preparation and honesty will keep your company protected and your employees safe.
Read, Listen or Watch the full RLW for more about OSHA preparation.
Alec is a reporter for RoofersCoffeeShop, MetalCoffeeShop and AskARoofer. When he isn’t investigating the state of the roofing industry, you might find him playing drums with his bands in Denver.