Adobe Acrobat Reader
Are You Ready For Trouble?
By George Porter
The thing about trouble is you never know when it is coming
and when it does show up it is usually at the worst possible time.
There are basically two kinds of trouble that visit us in the
business of installing, physical trouble and financial trouble.
Most of the time they arrive as a team so you had better be prepared
to deal with it. The good part is you have help available for
free! That's right free! Did you know that your state has people
to assist you in your business? Now I know that the old saying,
"We're from the government and we have come to help you,"
is a classic joke, but you might want to look into these services.
You did after all pay for them in your taxes, think of it as a
kind of rebate.
All states also have what is known as the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration Consultation Project. It is usually
connected to the state university but not always. Yes, this is
OSHA, but then no, it is not. There are of course OSHA inspectors,
who are quite possibly the most feared of all government employees.
These people have caused panic and even near heart failure for
small business owners when they walk up to them on the job. These
folks are NOT those guys. Believe it or not OSHA hired consultants
in every state of the union to help the people OSHA regulates
to avoid OSHA trouble. It doesn't have to make sense, we're talking
about the government here. These people will come out to your
job site and give you a 100% evaluation of how you are complying
with current OSHA regulations ( you did know you had to comply
didn't you? ).
They will provide you with a list of those infractions for
which real OSHA inspectors would have fined the life out of you,
and they will advise you what to do about the problems. They will
thank you for calling them and then leave. It is in their contract
with OSHA that they WILL NOT REPORT any of their findings to OSHA.
If they did report their customers to OSHA you can imagine how
often they would be called for their services and they would very
soon be out of a job. They will just advise you and that's all
UNLESS they find a very serious life threatening problem, then
they will give you a reasonable amount of time to correct it or
they will have to report it. This is much better than you just
ignoring a problem like this and/or getting someone killed and
having a real OSHA inspector show up, put you out of business
plus take everything you own in fines.
You may be asking yourself, "why would I bother doing
this"? Good question, but here is the question you should
ask first. What would happen if a real OSHA inspector showed up
and observed me and my crew at work setting up a new home? (This
would be done from a distance so you wouldn't be aware that they
were around.) What are some of the things OSHA inspectors might
- Safety timbers under homes.
- Hard hats, safety glasses, steel toe shoes
- Appropriate first aid kit on job
- Safety training for your employees
- All safety shields on equipment
- Extension cords in good repair
- Appropriate ladders for use around electric wires
- Employee knowledge of what substances they use that are classed
as hazardous. (MSDS Sheet)
- Qualifications of each employee to do the job he is doing
such as working on gas or electricity
And the list goes on and on. Call these guys. You will probably
not be real comfortable with the visit but then consider the alternative.
Companies have been fined tens of thousands of dollars for not
being aware and worse than that, people have been killed and injured
who had no idea they were in any kind of danger. This service
is free, it is easy, and you will be ready for trouble when it
Here are the numbers for the USA if you are so inclined.
New Hampshire 603-271-3107
New Jersey 609-984-3507
New Mexico 505-827-2885
New York 518-457-5468
North Carolina 919-662-4651
North Dakota 701-224-2348
Rhode Island 401-277-2438
South Carolina 803-734-9599
South Dakota 605-688-4101
West Virginia 304-348-7890