HIOSH – Do you want to pay some steep fines?

HIOSH has been increasing visits to restaurants and food facilities. They inspect for safe working conditions in your facility. They have visited 2 facilities that I know of. The most recent received a $20,000 fine. Yes, you read that correctly, $20,000. Do you have an extra 20k just laying around in your budget?? I doubt it!! There are some steps you can take that may help you minimize or avoid these hefty fines when HIOSH knocks on your door.

What is HIOSH? We have all heard of OSHA, and they regulate Federal and Maritime facilities. HIOSH is a division of the Hawaii Department of Labor, and they regulate everything else. When they visit your facility un-announced, they typically review your documentation, inspect your facility, and may even ask your staff about working and training they have had.

Among the documents HIOSH will look at include a review of your Safety Plan (do you have one?) accident records, MSDS (remember every chemical must have an up to date sheet) and that all the current and required signs and posters are easily available and posted to be seen by your staff.

During the walk-thru, they will look for unsafe conditions that may include slip/trip hazards, electrical (blocked panels, extension cords, improper outlets) exits (properly mounted and working Fire Exit signage. Having the proper PPE’s for equipment and chemicals AND the staff knows when and how to use them is looked at also

As an example – in the HIOSH seminar at the Hotel and Restaurant Show on May 28 given by Alan Yamamoto at the Convention Center, a $3 plate cover that is missing (see the photo) may cause a fine of up to $3000. You do the math. $3 0r $3000?

There are ways that you may plan and prepare for these inspections to avoid or minimize any fines by providing a work environment that is fully in compliance with HIOSH regulations.

At the HI DoL webpage, http://labor.hawaii.gov/hiosh/  In the publications quick link, there is a handbook that you can download. It outlines how you can create a Safety plan for your operation. This handbook covers all types of facilities, and there is a lot of information regarding construction, but there are a lot of general requirements that do apply to restaurants and food facilities.

There is also a Consulting and Training program available for free. They will visit your operation and review your operation touching on all the requirements, and advise you on what areas you need to correct and improve on to become compliant. This is a free service, and it will not automatically trigger an audit. There is a waiting list for these consults, so the sooner you contact them, the better.

There are also two programs – SHARP and VPP – that may even help lower your Workers Compensation costs. See the http://labor.hawaii.gov/hiosh/ for details on all the programs.

Lastly, Peter B Food Safety Audits is expanding into assisting with creating Safety Plans and conducting audits that are based on the HIOSH regulations. Similar to the HIOSH review, your documentation and facility are inspected, and a checklist of what needs to be addressed is created.

To set up any type of Audit, please contact Peter Bellisario via email peter@peterbfoodsafety.com or phone (808)491-7766. As always, Hawaii Restaurant Association members are eligible for a discount on our already reasonable fees.

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