Having a coffee maker that is not rated for an industrial environment is considered a violation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Because there are so many other areas that could be considered a violation — and with a first-time violation possibly setting you back $13,653 or more if other violations are found — the ARA of Colorado offered “OSHA’s at your door. Are you ready?” Wednesday, June 23, to help members learn how to be better prepared.
Kevin Gern, ARA director of safety, offered the online training. He outlined numerous areas where violations could be found if rental operators receive a visit from OSHA.
His presentation was much-appreciated by Meagan Priest, manager, Chair Rental, Englewood, Colo., and ARA of Colorado vice president.
“OSHA has always been a term that scares me. Having zero experience with them, I had zero knowledge on the expectations of an inspection. I think Kevin was super-informative! Many of the situations he covered pertained to both party and tool, which I really appreciated. After the presentation, I went and took a walk around the warehouse and looked at our electrical cords as well as our electrical boxes in a new light. I have saved Kevin’s contact information and plan on reaching out with questions as they come up. Thanks to his presentation, OSHA doesn’t scare me anymore,” she says.
The presentation was a great review for Danny Young, regional operations manager — Colorado and Utah, Sunstate Equipment Co., Commerce City, Colo.
“I thought it was a great refresher for me and for my managers,” he says. “Safety always has been a priority for me and is one of our core values at Sunstate. For several months I was the guy who walked through facilities looking for things like OSHA violations. Safety is something I always drill home with my managers, so I wanted my branch managers to be as aware of these low-hanging fruits that OSHA is looking for as well as any potential ramifications if OSHA walks through the door. I wanted them to be reminded of what OSHA will be looking for and the need for my managers to go through their facilities with their OSHA-inspector hat on and have a clear set of eyes, always making sure their facilities are staying up to par. I think it offered them a game plan and great ideas they can share with each other.”
Regarding the coffee makers, Young was very well aware that they have to be rated for industrial environments. “It’s not just coffee makers but also any household appliance, such as minifridges. Once it goes into what OSHA deems an industrial environment, it has to be an appliance that is rated for that environment,” he says.
Young has had all his branch managers go through OSHA’s 10-Hour training. “As you start going through additional OSHA training, those are all things that you start to learn. Not only is safety a huge priority, but there are a lot of different little things involved. It is a time-consuming process as well. You might have a mechanic who brings something into the shop that you aren’t even aware of. That is why walking through the branches and shops to keep an eye out for things like that is essential and important. I think this was a great training for a lot of people or a refresher for others,” he says, adding that he is glad he and several of his branch managers attended.
Jeff Jackson, owner, All Purpose Rental & Sales, Greeley, Colo., and ARA of Colorado president, says this seminar was timely and important.
“Most everyone who attended should have been able to easily take away something that they needed to change or implement at their facility. In addition to the potentially massive cost of the fines, one shocking fact was that a residential coffee pot is not in compliance because of the cord, it must be a commercial coffee maker to comply with OSHA standards,” he says.
At the end of the presentation, Gern told attendees to reach out to him regarding any questions they have about possible OSHA violations. Rental operators may do so at email@example.com.