Simply Being “OSHA Compliant” Is Not Enough

Clients often ask: Does OSHA require compliance with ISO 13849, (such as evaluating a machine control system to insure it meets the correct Performance Level)? Perhaps a more accurate question is: What is the difference between compliance and liability?

All organizations want to avoid either being issued a citation or finding themselves the respondent in a lawsuit. They will go out of their way to reduce exposure to legal action. A common example is most businesses are attentive in removing snow from their walkways, stairs and parking lots. By being proactive in snow removal, they protect themselves from municipalities’ fines for failing to keep a clear walkway. Avoiding a municipal citation is compliance.

It is far more important for a business to pursue an active snow removal policy to reduce liability. If an injured party can prove the business failed to follow due diligence, the awarded damages can go well into six figures.

When an organization follows only the rules set out in 29 CFR 1910A, they can argue they are in OSHA compliance. Being OSHA compliant could save thousands of dollars in potential fines; however, being only in compliance does not provide an adequate means of reducing liability in the event of an incident.

Sentinel Machine Safety encourages their clients to follow a proactive strategy when designing, purchasing, modifying or relocating major industrial production equipment. Proactively following industry best practices, such as ISO 13849, demonstrates due diligence and diminishes liability. A Safety Review, as facilitated by Sentinel, assures the requirement of ISO 13849-1 (engineering) and 13849-2 (validation) have been followed. The documentation of this process proves the organization’s due diligence and is critical evidence in the event of an industrial incident.