"WE wonder after 39 years, why don't we have standard penalties for routine violations?I would like to hear what others think, but obviously I have to put in my two cents.
An unguarded press would be worth the same in Maine to Florida."
I have never agreed that all violations are created equal. If I inspect an injection molding shop that has 300 different plastics and they have 298 of the 300 MSDSs, and the two missing MSDSs are for plastics they haven't used in three months, and they get the MSDSs faxed to them before I leave, should I even cite them? I don't think so, I'll note it in the case file and move on.
Take that example to the next step, if they are missing 30 MSDSs of rarely used plastics and have an effective HAZCOM program, should I cite them? I think so. The question becomes at what level? I would propose OTS, no penalty.
Now to the extreme, the employer only has 15 of the necessary 300 MSDSs and has routinely thrown out MSDSs when they are received. That to me is a serious violation.
The obvious question to my example is where do I draw the line? I can't answer that, there are way too many possibilities, but it seems to me that issuing the same citation with the same penalty in all three of those situations is unfair.
To continue the punch press example, the severity and probability assessment might preclude violations in Maine and Florida from being the same. If the site in Florida has a press that six employees share over two work shifts, the press is in continuous operation, and the employees have their hand near the point of operation, that seems to me to be high severity/greater probability. If the site in Maine has one operator, who uses the press once per week, and uses a wood dowel to hold the piece in place as the press actuates, that seems to me to be a high severity/lesser probability.
Now what happens if one of the sites uses a press that has a down stroke force that is incapable amputating a finger? Now the severity isn't high, it's medium or low.
I get what Kane is saying, and we do have consistency issues, and even though those issues aren't as bad as they were 20 years ago, I think they have been getting worse for the last few years.
I think one piece of improving our consistency is through OTI. Not just the courses, but the opportunity for CSHOs from around the country to get together and discuss how we do things. It seems to me our consistency began to fall about the time our training budgets fell. The fact that OTI seems to be going to distance learning has only accelerated the problem (distance learning is a whole new rant).
Consistency is important, but so is flexibility. So how do we achieve both?