Business Advisory Council updated on OSHA
by Jason Lowrey
Jan 12, 2014 | 1260 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For its first meeting of 2014, the Georgia Highlands College Business Advisory Council heard a presentation on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s top citations over the previous year and forthcoming regulations.

Tomas and Jonas Motiejunas of Orizon, a business safety consultant, gave the presentation Friday. The brothers also teach continuing education courses focusing on safety on behalf of GHC.

The top 10 citations OSHA administered throughout 2013 covered a variety of noncompliance issues, such as failing to have labels on chemical containers, improper electrical wiring, improper use or training of industrial trucks such as forklifts and failure to follow proper lockout and tagout procedures when shutting down equipment for maintenance. Average fines for such citations ranged from $602.59 per violation for improper labeling to $2,086.74 for not following lockout procedure.

After discussing the challenges of consistently implementing OSHA’s regulations, the presentation turned toward forthcoming regulations.

“It’s still important to stay informed, because we actually have a say. If there’s a proposed rule, there’s a comment period there, so we actually have some pull, I guess, to shape these rules and regulations. So that’s why it’s important to be aware of that,” Tomas Motiejunas said.

Among the regulations were new standards for combustible dust, tighter silica exposure levels and publically posted information on work-related injuries and illnesses.

George White, director of continuing education at GHC, said the advisory council was formed of roughly 20 businesses both in and out of Bartow County. Any corporation within GHC’s operating area is welcome to take part in the council, he added.

“The advisory [council’s purpose] is to give us feedback on what classes they would like to see us offer, or programs. We try to meet the needs of the clients in this area,” White said.

Upcoming programs include a 10-hour or 30-hour safety compliance training course, taught by the Motiejunas brothers. The 10-hour course is scheduled for Feb. 17 and 18, and costs $199 per attendee. The 30-hour course is scheduled for Feb. 17 to 21, and costs $675 per attendee. To register, visit www.highlands.edu/site/continuing-education. Additional programs relating to professional development are scheduled for February as well.

Tomas Motiejunas said the safety program is authorized through the Georgia Institute of Technology and it has been well-received.

“It’s been really good. We haven’t had any negatives at all. What we try and do with the classes, safety isn’t the most exciting thing, so we try and spruce it up and make it to where it’s interesting. I think we’ve had good success doing that,” he said.

White noted more companies were taking advantage of GHC’s continuing education and training courses, which he believed pointed toward an improving economy.

“Like I mentioned earlier, I feel that this is just a sign the economy’s turning because we’ve had more contract on people in open enrollment in the last six months than we have since [I guess] 2007 or 2008. ... And I think that bodes well for the economy because people don’t spend money to train their employees, I mean, they plan on keeping them and increasing production and stuff,” he said. “I think maybe ... maybe even though they need it, they think training is a necessary evil in a way. I think now it’s trending the other way, ‘Well, we can use training to increase our production, make our employees more profitable,’ and that’s what we hear a lot from the feedback.”