While OSHA does have the ability to set workplace safety standards, the United States Supreme Court recently found that their Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) went too far and beyond the organization’s scope, and that it is a “significant encroachment in the lives and health of employees.” OSHA was created to set workplace safety standards and not to set broad public health measures. However, the ruling leaves entrepreneurs and small businesses wondering how they can protect their workers and ensure a safe workplace in the wake of the pandemic.

Anticipating a ruling one way or the other, CEDC hosted a BEAR Lunch & Learn to highlight the importance of OSHA and the EPA’s impact on small businesses. As a part of CEDC’s Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) program, these lunches are designed to aid the entrepreneur in staying abreast of topics that could impact their business.

Cory White, owner of Small Business Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), presented to the group on what it takes for a small business to get off the ground while avoiding the fines and other financial pitfalls that are associated with ignoring or violating government safety and environmental regulations. Typically, large businesses have the resources necessary to hire an Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) employee who works to keep the company in compliance. Businesses with 250+ employees hire over 75% of EHS professionals in the United States – putting added pressure on smaller firms looking for the right EH&S employee. White pointed out that one way a small business can protect themselves and be more competitive is to utilize consultants and outsource EH&S functions.

Ready to get your business OSHA and EPA compliant? The first step is to look for a qualified consultant who can properly assess the business operations. Secondly, send out proposals to address compliance issues identified. Finally, implement the items proposed and track the money you’ve saved your business by addressing compliance issues before they are detected by OSHA.

In conclusion, having a process to address possible safety and environmental violations in the workplace as well as a Contingency Plan is the most effective way for small businesses to ensure the safety of both their workers and their business.