Fines and penalty fees for OSHA violations rose in 2016 for the first time since 1990 and are continuing to increase. Here are four tips to help you avoid these fines, plus potential criminal charges and injuries on the jobsite.

1. Know the OSHA Rules
To avoid violating OSHA regulations you must be aware of all the OSHA safety standards for construction. Topics include trench safety, best personal protective equipment (PPE) practices, proper use of scaffolding and aerial lifts, as well as fall protection and safe operation of on-site vehicles. Reading up on these topics will help you avoid violations, which will help keep your crew safe, too.

2. Train the Team
OSHA requires that all team members are trained in proper safety standards, and it sometimes stipulates that training is repeated every few months or years. However, simply training the crew isn’t enough. The best leaders create a responsible workplace where members always wear appropriate equipment and don’t cut corners, reducing the risk of injury. Getting people in the habit of doing it the right way, every time, is an important step in creating a safe—and efficient—worksite.

3. Inspect Equipment Regularly
Thorough and regular inspections should be a part of every site’s daily activities. Checking tools, equipment, machines, scaffolding, and PPE are all crucial to maintaining crew safety and avoiding OSHA penalties. To make it easier, keep a list of what needs to be inspected and when, as well as who will do it. Also, just to be extra safe, reiterate that inspecting equipment is not just a list of tasks to follow, but something that must be done with care. Lives may depend on it.

4. Keep Digital Records
Maintaining records is one of the easiest ways of avoiding OSHA penalties. If an accident does happen, these records are evidence that you were keeping up with inspections and training. They are essentially your best defense against fines, penalties or potential litigation.

As a way of organizing records and preventing papers from being lost or destroyed, it is important to store digital records on a cloud based system. This approach ensures that records are easily accessible, from anywhere, should you ever need them.