When company owners first learn that they need an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) for their business, they wonder what this federally required plan is all about. Simply put, an IIPP is a company-approved statement that explains how the company will comply with OSHA’s mandated health and safety requirements. Every business in the United States is required to have one, and it must meet some specific requirements.
Designing an IIPP doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but it must be compliant with OSHA’s guidelines.
Are IIPP Templates Sufficient to Meet OSHA’s Requirements?
Many small business owners turn to IIPP templates that can be purchased online for a relatively low price.
An IIPP template might provide a business owner with a starting point for a good program. However, it will likely still need a lot of work in order for it to comply with OSHA or state-required guidelines for an IIPP. It is not a ready-made solution. I’m reminded of the age-old axiom, “You can have it done fast. You can have it done cheap. You can have it done right. Pick two.” A cheap IIPP template that you can purchase with the click of a button won’t be done right because it won’t be designed with your specific business in mind. And this is key for an IIPP—it must be designed in a way that’s specific to your business.
Sadly, a company owner will not know that their IIPP is not in compliance until OSHA shows up and requests to review it. OSHA and state safety inspectors have seen all forms of IIPP books. They know what a good IIPP looks like. They have seen the IIPPs from multimillion-dollar companies and highly professional construction companies, as well as those of local subcontractors. They also know when somebody has bought a bargain basement IIPP template to try and cover the minimum requirements. OSHA inspectors cannot be fooled, and the fines are steep when an IIPP doesn’t pass muster.
Business owners should be aware of the type of scrutiny that OSHA brings to an investigation. Some years back, I was involved in an OSHA inspection. It was very thorough. The inspectors reviewed every safety meeting going back 12 months, focusing on the attendance records of the injured party. They reviewed the training materials (hand-outs) presented to the employees. The investigation even expanded into the offices of all subcontractors—even those who were not under investigation—just because they were attached to the project. Although only a few fines were levied to subcontractors, most received correction notices with pending penalties.
Notices to Correct (NTC) are documented and become public record. It shows that a company was not compliant at one time, and only became compliant through the threat of fines. Insurance companies research public records when determining premiums. It is much better to be compliant from the start then to be identified as being “out of compliance.”
Having personally gone through an OSHA inspection, I have no doubt that an IIPP drafted using an inexpensive IIPP template would not satisfy inspectors. There’s really no cheap and easy way to get around OSHA’s requirements for an IIPP. Your IIPP needs to be thorough, detailed, and specific to your business.
An Alternative to IIPP Templates
So, what is a small construction company or trade contractor to do when it comes to creating a satisfactory IIPP? I believe many small business owners turn to IIPP templates because they know they are not well versed in OSHA compliance or in the development of health and safety programs themselves. They also typically don’t have the time or the staff available to create the type of comprehensive IIPP that safety inspectors are looking for. They resort to IIPP templates because they feel like something is better than nothing.
But there is another option. At DTS, we offer small business owners an affordable solution that will address all of OSHA’s requirements for an IIPP. We provide a high level of service and will produce a comprehensive IIPP that is tailored to your business. We can also update your IIPP as your business changes or as OSHA’s requirements change.
When you work with DTS for the creation of an IIPP, we review your trade, your areas of operation, and the best way to implement a real, easy-to-follow, health and safety program. We take into consideration the number of employees you have, and who on your team is best equipped to administer your health and safety program. You can learn more about our IIPP development service here.
DTS is able to work under tight deadlines, so even if you’ve already been cited by OSHA for failing to have an IIPP, we can help you develop one quickly so you can avoid additional fines.
Contact us at DTS to learn more about how we can help your business stay in compliance with OSHA and Cal/OSHA requirements. DTS is headquartered in Orange County, California, but serves small businesses throughout the country for IIPP development.