Louisiana State Fire Marshal Provides Guidance for Businesses Regarding Reopening After Historic Flood
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal released guidelines and requirements for businesses who plan to reopen following the historic flooding that impacted the region recently. An estimated 6.9 trillion gallons of water fell across the impacted area in early to mid-August.
The following guidelines as published earlier today are in effect through the end of November 2016:
Effective August 1st (2016), companies with more than 250 employees can expect increased scrutiny and fines under OSHA's new enforcement and penalty policies. Area directors from OSHA can offer companies with fewer than 250 employees a fine reduction of 20%.
Under the new guidelines, fines for incidents increased by 80% to a maximum of $124,709 per citation. If multiple employees are involved - and the violation is deemed egregious by OSHA - the offending company can be cited for each employee at the full $124,709 per citation. The penalty for willful and/or repeat violations is now set at $12,470, and the timeframe for classifying a violation as willful or repeat was expanded by two years, from a 3-year period to 5 years.
Audits by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services accredited agencies can cause sleepless nights for those responsible for fire and life safety systems in healthcare occupancy types. Not only can the outcome lead to having to cut employees loose and steep fines, but because these audits results are reported publicly it can also have a negative impact from a public relations standpoint.
The fact is only 20% of facilities pass annually with zero discrepancies. To help facility management and maintenance better prepare for audits the CMS release a list of the top ten life safety discrepancies by the percentage of facilities cited. Keeping these in mind when preparing for an audit could help you become the one in five to pass your next audit rather than the exception.