Is your facility prepared for an OSHA inspection? Depending on your industry and the size of your business, there is a good chance that OSHA will be inspecting at some point. Preparing for an OSHA inspection will increase your chances of coming out of the visit with no fines or citations.
A well-trained workforce is one of your greatest assets during an OSHA inspection. Everyone from the CEO to the carpet cleaner should be assigned responsibilities pertaining to workplace safety in the event of an inspection and given a list of those responsibilities before any inspection is called. In addition, workers should know safety policies, both internal policies and those imposed by outside agencies such as OSHA. Finally, ensure that all of your workers know what to say, what not to say, and their personal rights in the event of an OSHA visit.
Keep an OSHA Inspection Kit
Certain materials that will make an OSHA inspection easier and give you documentation if you feel citations are unfair. Prepare a kit that includes a pad of paper, a writing utensil, a digital camera with video capabilities, a ruler or other tool for measurement, and a flashlight. Depending on your industry, you may also want to include items such as air- and noise-sampling kits and voice recorders. Keep prior OSHA inspection paperwork, if it exists, as well as proof that previously identified hazards were dealt with promptly and completely.
Create a Culture of Workplace Safety
Creating a culture of workplace safety is not just handy in the event of an inspection; it will also cut back on injuries and worker's compensation claims. Create a system for employees to anonymously report hazards, and carefully follow up on each report. Train managers to constantly keep an eye out for potential hazards and to work with employees to create a safer workplace. OSHA requires a job hazard analysis, and these steps can help you to complete that analysis and keep your facility safer.
OSHA requires its own audits, but you should perform your own audits as well. Periodically audit facilities and reports. Later, review the results and follow up to ensure that the hazards were dealt with appropriately. Review audits from third parties like your insurance company to make sure any issues found in these inspections were resolved. This can prevent you from getting a willful citation, as OSHA will be asking for insurance reviews.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One of the best ways to prevent an OSHA inspection is by dealing with employee complaints before the complaints escalate to the next level. An anonymous hazard reporting system works well in this scenario. While you cannot stop all malicious complaints made by disgruntled employees or competitors, you can prevent many inspections simply by being more responsive to employees and giving them the means to report safety violations without fear.
From home to work, emergency food preparation to OSHA kits, we now live in a culture where people prepare for a variety of unfortunate events. This preparation helps us to get through the inevitable with as little damage as possible. Applying the principle of preparedness to workplace safety will ensure that you can survive an OSHA inspection without citations and fines. In addition, it will make your facility a safer place to work, keeping injuries and complaints low.