Ensuring safety in the workplace
It is an employer’s legal duty to provide a safe work environment for employees. One resource Nevada employers can take advantage of to ensure they are meeting safety standards is SCATS.
Safety Consultation and Training Section (SCATS) provides an array of free training and educational resources for businesses throughout the state of Nevada to help employers comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) standards.
“Our mission in SCATS is to help equip employers with safety and health knowledge with the goal that every employee goes home at the end of the day,” Todd Schultz, chief administrative officer for SCATS, said.
SCATS is part of Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations and has locations in Reno, Elko and Henderson. The organization offers classes on approximately 45 different topics that can help employers and their employees learn about OSHA regulations and how to get started implementing a safety program. All of the trainings are posted on SCATS’ website.
“(Taking one class) is not going to make you an expert but will get you asking the right questions and show you where to find the answers,” Stephen Rodgers, program coordinator for SCATS, said.
The organization also offers more in-depth programs like their practitioner program.
“One of the big benefits of the training program that we offer is our Safety and Health Practitioner Program,” Schultz said.
SCATS has been offering their Safety and Health Practitioner Certificate Program for 10 years. The program provides in-depth training in occupational safety and health for free. Schultz explained that the program consists of 27 courses that the attendee has to complete in three years. Since its inception, more than 700 people have graduated from the program.
There are many other resources that SCATS offers Nevada employers. Employers can also download training resources directly from the website that can be modified to meet each company’s needs or borrow training DVDs from their lending libraries located in all three locations.
“These are things that can get very costly for a small- to medium-size employer,” Schultz said.
With changing and complex OSHA regulations, it is important that employers are up-to-date to avoid workplace injuries as well as costly fines.
“The regulations have changed a lot and the awareness of those regulations is very important for business owners,” Kelly Baetz, training supervisor for SCATS, said.
Nevada employers can request a SCATS consultant to do an on-site safety and health consultation to evaluate safety hazard and the business’s compliance with safety regulations. Schultz explained that the consultants do not issue citations or report non-compliances.
“Everything that we do is confidential,” Schultz said.
However, SCATS does request the business make changes the when they find safety concerns. According to Rodgers, these changes could reduce workers compensation premiums, avoid costly OSHA citations aw well as help a business’ bottom line.
“It is a win-win,” Rodgers said. “The service is free and they save a lot of money.”
The top three industries that use their services are employers in the construction, manufacturing and hotel and casino industry. However, Schultz said they provide services for a wide-range of employers.
“Any business can benefit from the resources and services that we provide,” Schultz said.
Rodgers explained that while certain jobs are more hazardous than others, an employee could be injured in any job setting.
“One way that you can be injured in an office is that someone trips and falls,” Rodgers said. “… It can happen anywhere, anytime.”
Schultz, Rodgers and Baetz are working to create more awareness of SCATS.
“It is a great service that is provided to Nevada employers but the only way they can take advantage of it is if they know about it,” Schultz said.
For more information on SCATS, call 1-877-4SAFENV or visit http://www.4safenv.state.nv.us.
Reno-based design firm MBA Architecture and Design is assisting on the $47 million Caesars Entertainment project in downtown Reno.