How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection

Every business owner will know that preparing for an OSHA inspection begins long before inspectors arrive at the door. Complying with OSHA standards demands long-term commitment and adherence to important safety rules. Businesses must strive to promote a culture of safety and wellness, provide training, and motivate the entire team to safeguard their workplace.

What does OSHA usually inspect?

OSHA tends to inspect businesses with the highest risk of imminent danger that could cause serious physical harm or death. Their priorities range from fatal accidents, employee complaints, specific industry hazards, and follow-up inspections to ensure hazard abatement.

How to prepare

OSHA rarely gives notice of inspections, which is why it is incredibly important to always be prepared. The process can take hours or weeks, depending on the size of your company.

  • Make sure every team member understands their responsibilities when it comes to hazards at each worksite.
  • Record everything. Retain paperwork in an organized and safe location.
  • Know that OSHA can ask any employees questions in a private interview – employers should ensure every employee can explain they know how to be safe at the worksite.
  • Ask for a copy of the complaint/reason before the OSHA inspector begins.
  • Managers will receive extra scrutiny so train them up.

The procedure of an OSHA inspection

During an OSHA inspection, a set procedure and guidelines must be followed so that the process remains transparent and fair.

Before the inspection begins, make sure the OSHA inspector presents proper credentials, including a photo ID with a name, serial number, and office.

  • In the opening conference, the inspector will explain the scope and purpose of the inspection. If there is a complaint involved, the inspector must provide a copy of the same.
  • Ensure that you select a representative from your organization beforehand who will be responsible for communicating with the officer and accompanying him on the walk-around procedure. The representative must be well-versed with information such as the company’s work, the number of employees, details of the company’s policies and documents, contact information, and so on.
  • The officer must be accompanied by the representative throughout the walkthrough. The officer will examine the site, operations, processes, equipment, devices, machines, and so on to ensure OSHA compliance. If the officer takes photos and recordings, the company representative must capture and record the same so that both parties have identical records for inspection. The officer may also conduct one-on-one interviews with employees.
  • After the walk-around, during the closing conference, the inspector will discuss the findings and apparent violations discovered during the inspection, course of action, strengths and weaknesses, employee rights, and consultation services. In the event of any violations, OSHA must issue citations and proposed penalties within six months of the occurrence of the violations.

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