The N.C. Department of Labor (NCDOL) has a resource that has been in place for a while that is designed specifically to assist employers with safety and health issues. The NCDOL offers on-site Consultative Services where a safety and health professional can meet with you virtually or on-site and review your areas of concern. They can review written programs and walk through your establishment to identify worksite hazards that may result in injury. This service is free and does not result in an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) citation or monetary penalty.
“One feature of our service that is great for employers is that they remain in control of the interaction and can guide our visit to meet their needs,” OSH Consultative Services Bureau Chief Kevin O’Barr said. He continued, “The program has been around for many years and many people have an awareness that it exists, but the majority of companies have never actually hosted us on site.”
The consultants employed in NCDOL’s Consultative Services Bureau have years of experience and work across North Carolina. They will identify safety and health hazards in a business and assist with recommendations to reduce and eliminate those hazards. The confidential service has a fantastic bonus – employers who have an open case with the Consultative Services Bureau are not eligible to be considered for a random OSH inspection. Inspections prompted by an accident, complaint or other unprogrammed event could still proceed.
“Taking advantage of this free proactive Consultative Services program will assist North Carolina employers with improving their safety and health programs,” Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson said. “We want to partner with the business community to make North Carolina the safest place to work.”
“We can help employers get in compliance with the standards, but more importantly we are hoping to eliminate hazards from the jobsite and help prevent illness and injury to employees,” O’Barr said. Does this free expertise come with a catch? No, the only employer obligation is to repair the serious hazards identified during the visit and that is the purpose of inviting the consultant in the first place. If the employer is concerned about the number of hazards being identified, they can stop the visit and work on the issues identified up to that point and then continue through the rest of the facility later. In order to answer questions for those people considering submitting a request but who remain shy, NCDOL put together a client testimonial video where other employers share their experience with the program.
To watch the testimonial video, visit https://youtu.be/R3Zyh3xGw-A.