SharePoint helps stay compliant with new OSHA regulations

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SharePoint helps stay compliant with new OSHA regulations

Staying in compliance with national regulatory safety standards is no easy task and companies are highly aware of the risks associated to their reputation as well as their pocketbook. In the last several years, the health care industry has experienced record-setting fines for noncompliance. Now, OSHA has implemented several significant reporting and enforcement initiatives, effective Jan. 1 that will have a profound impact on employers. This blog will address how to utilize SharePoint for compliance and keep your business out of hot water with OSHA.

Let’s first begin with specifications of the new OSHA regulations that will be become effective in January.

The Occupational and Safety Health Administration's revised recordkeeping rule includes two key changes:

All employers must report,

  • All work-related fatalities within 8 hours.
  • All work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations and all losses of an eye within 24 hours.

Record-keeping changes,

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. OSHA's revised recordkeeping regulation maintains this exemption.
  • Establishments in certain low-hazard industries are also exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records.

Under OSHA's recordkeeping regulation, certain covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Log. This information is important for employers, workers and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards, and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards.

Another key takeaway from the new regulations is that OSHA has just received authorization from Congress to implement a huge increase in fines for the first time in over 20 years, making it all the more important to have a good compliance program in place.

Some interesting statistics:

  • Forty percent of companies who reported injuries under the new Injury and Illness Reporting Requirements have been investigated on-site by an OSHA compliance officer.
  • Fifty percent of companies who reported injuries received an investigation letter as a result of OSHA’s new “rapid response investigation” initiative. Responding to an investigation letter is much more detailed than responding to a standard employee complaint response.

SharePoint for Record Keeping

The number of on-site health inspections has been trending up over the last five years. Generally, health inspections take much longer to perform than safety inspections, are much more complex, resource intensive, and costly.

First and foremost, SharePoint is a comprehensive content management tool. Unlike a paper-based system or department share drives, SharePoint can host all important documentation in one centralized place which can significantly reduce emails and duplicated work. Shared drives tend to lack in search functionality but by using metadata in SharePoint, users can seamlessly find what they want, when they want.

It is highly likely that multiple people will be contributing to a document so workflows in SharePoint makes the process much more streamlined. Utilizing technology that makes sure all employees are working on the most current version of a document and captures the discussions around it is key. SharePoint workflow encompasses every element of document creation, including drafting, reviewing, approving, revising and publishing.

Version control and audit trails in SharePoint ensures that if your business were to get audited, you will be fully prepared because it offers a clear audit trail of how the document evolved and who was involved in the process during what part.

If you are using SharePoint 2013, it has a built in workflow engine and can be configured to meet various business requirements, including electronic document management and records management. SharePoint 2013 is a configurable application and is considered a Category 4 type system as defined in GAMP5. This is a huge plus for companies needing strict compliance features.

ShareKnowledge Completes the Compliance Picture

Because of OSHA’s new rules, significant enforcement initiatives, and a continued aggressive approach to inspections, industry professionals are seeking to understand OSHA’s enforcement focus, so they can strategically plan and manage resources to drive a successful outcome should OSHA target their company for an investigation.

An option, for those companies that already have many of their processes already in SharePoint, can extend its capabilities by adding ShareKnowledge for training and effectively reduce risks and challenges associated with compliance.

  • Adding an e-signature to training materials ensures that learners acknowledge that they understand the content
  • Automatic restrictions on changes to training material once it's connected to an e-signature provides added security.
  • Additional training requirements can be added along with an e-signature including face-to-face trainings, reading activities, eLearning, quizzes etc.
  • Schedule recurring events automatically for refreshment trainings on compliance.
  • Reduce multiple versions of documents with a centralized SharePoint location for all training materials.
  • Schedule a compliance quiz to be sent automatically after a training course is completed.
  • Training content and post-acknowledgement test results are archived to ensure an auditable record.
  • Receive feedback from surveys connected to compound learning courses. 
  • Create an ad hoc training report for future use. Or, choose a customized report to share with colleagues.
Key Consideration:

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