If you own a business in the United States that has employees, you need an Injury & Illness Prevention Plan, or IIPP. If you don’t have one, you’re not alone. Most small businesses don’t have one (and don’t even know they need one), and therefore are currently out of compliance with OSHA regulations and subject to steep fines.
What Is an Injury & Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP)?
An IIPP is just what its name implies. It is a written plan that outlines how your business will work to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, and how they will be investigated if they do occur. A thorough IIPP should identify all potential hazards in the workplace and how they will be controlled. It should also outline the types of safety trainings that will be required of employees and how often they will be held. Among other things, it should include a system for documenting things like workplace inspections, injuries, and work-related illnesses.
The IIPP must be printed and readily accessible to all employees at all times. It also needs to be available for review, should an OSHA inspector show up at your place of business. A good IIPP is effective and easy to follow. It serves as a workable plan to help reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace. A thorough IIPP will also help a business stay in compliance with OSHA regulations.
Whether your business consists entirely of office work, or it involves operating heavy machinery, your business needs an IIPP. Of course, the IIPPs for these two types of businesses will look completely different—and that’s the point. Each IIPP should be tailored to each individual business. If you own an accounting firm, the health and safety practices in your IIPP might be focused on preventing carpal tunnel syndrome or avoiding eye strain. However, if you operate a construction business, your IIPP will be much more involved, since it will have to address the proper handling of tools and machinery, what protective gear is required and when, and how to maintain the safest working environment possible.
Are There IIPP Templates Available That Satisfy OSHA’s Requirements?
If you Google “IIPP templates,” there are many that are readily available for purchase—some for less than $50. But as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” An inexpensive IIPP template is unlikely to satisfy the strict standards set by OSHA for IIPPs.
Jim Diaz, owner of Diamond Touch Strategies, a company that specializes in helping small businesses stay in compliance with OSHA regulations, had this to say, “Sadly, a company owner will not know if their IIPP is compliant unless or until OSHA requests to review the company’s IIPP. OSHA and state safety inspectors have seen all forms of IIPP books. They know what a good IIPP looks like. They also know when somebody bought a bargain basement template to try and cover the minimum requirements. They cannot be fooled, and the fines are steep if an IIPP doesn’t meet their careful scrutiny.”
Employers should only purchase online IIPP templates if they are willing to then put in a considerable amount of work to turn it into an IIPP that complies with OSHA requirements, as well as any applicable state requirements.
A Better Alternative to IIPP Templates
If IIPP templates are not sufficient, and there is no one on staff with the time and expertise to put together a thorough IIPP, what other options are there? One option is to bring in someone who will design an IIPP on behalf of the company.
Companies like Diamond Touch Strategies offer customized service to small businesses in need of an IIPP. They come on site to assess the workplace, the equipment used, and the various business activities. They identify potential health and safety risks, and then create a plan that addresses them. The resulting IIPP will satisfy the requirements of OSHA as well as other interested parties, such as insurance companies.
Diaz explains, “It’s important to be proactive when it comes to meeting OSHA’s requirements. If you wait until OSHA shows up at your workplace, you can face steep fines if they discover you don’t have an IIPP in place, or if you only have a generic plan that doesn’t meet their guidelines. Your insurance company may also penalize you with higher rates when they find out your company was found to be out of compliance.”
A company offering IIPP development services will certainly cost you more than purchasing an IIPP template online, but the peace of mind you will get from knowing your IIPP was done by an expert can be well worth the added cost.short url: