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How A Hazard Communications Program Can Protect, Even Help, Your Bottom Line

It’s easy to dismiss OSHA compliance as a hassle—particularly in the case of administrative controls like a Hazard Communications Program—until an event like this reminds us why we establish safety protocols in the first place.

In December, the US Department of Labor issued a release detailing a fatal flash fire at an auto dealership in Alabama. “Inspectors determined that the employees were using a flammable brake wash to scrub the service pit floor when the fire occurred,” the release said. “As a result, three employees were fatally injured and a fourth was critically burned. A fifth employee was treated for smoke inhalation and released.”

A flash fire is a sudden, intense fire caused by ignition of a mixture of air and a dispersed flammable substance such as a solid, flammable or combustible liquid, or a flammable gas.

The OSHA Area Director reporting on the event blamed the dealership’s “failure to effectively implement a hazard communication program.” The dealership was fined over $150,000 for serious safety violations and given 15 business days to comply or contest the findings before an OSHA review commission.

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