Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Service - Page 25

OSHA

What To Expect From An OSHA Inspection

BY : DAVID GATELY , BUSINESS RISK ADVISOR , GENERAL INSURANCE SERVICES

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA ) is an agency of the Department of Labor ( DOL ), and it conducts tens of thousands of workplace inspections each year . Given that OSHA or its state agencies have jurisdiction over 8 million job sites , the chances of your business being inspected are slim . Still , it ’ s best to be prepared for an OSHA inspection and to know what to expect if a compliance safety and health officer ( CSHO ) knocks on your door .

WHY WOULD OSHA WANT TO INSPECT YOUR BUSINESS ?
OSHA focuses its inspection resources on the country ’ s most hazardous workplaces , based on the following order of priority :
1 . Imminent danger situations . Hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm receive top priority . CSHOs will ask employers to remove employees from the hazardous area and correct the identified hazards , or they will shut down the worksite until the imminent danger hazard is abated .
2 . Severe injuries and illnesses or death . Reports of work-related fatalities and serious injuries and illnesses are also a top priority .
3 . Worker complaints . Allegations of hazards or violations receive a high priority . Employees may request anonymity when they file complaints .
4 . Referrals of hazards . Referrals from other federal , state , or local agencies ; individuals ; organizations ; or the media receive consideration for inspection .
5 . Targeted inspections . Inspections aimed at specific high-hazard industries or individual workplaces that have experienced high rates of injuries and illnesses also receive priority .
6 . Follow-up inspections . Checks for abatement of violations cited during previous inspections are also conducted by OSHA in certain circumstances .
Not all complaints and referrals result in an on-site inspection . For lower-priority hazards , OSHA may call the employer to discuss safety and health concerns . OSHA will follow up with written details , and the employer must report back within five working days with the corrective actions it has taken or plans to take . If the response is adequate , OSHA may decide to skip an on-site inspection .
PREPARATION FOR AN ON-SITE INSPECTION
In most cases , you won ’ t be given advance notice of an on-site inspection . The rare exception is if there is an imminent danger in your workplace and OSHA wants you to correct the situation as quickly as possible .
Because there is no advance notice , it ’ s best to have an OSHA inspection preparation plan rehearsed in advance . Your plan should include the following :
• Who will greet the inspector
• Who should be present for the opening conference
• Who is in charge of gathering requested documents
• Who will accompany the inspector during the inspection
• Who will make prompt corrections of violations that can be resolved immediately
• How you will record the inspection ( e . g ., photos , video )
• How you will conduct simultaneous sampling if OSHA takes samples
If a union represents your employees , you should identify a union representative to be part of the inspection process .
The inspector will take notes and may take photos or make video recordings of your workplace . These will not be shared with you . But you are allowed to take your own notes , photos , and videos and to ask questions , so make sure you designate someone to do that .
For further insight into the following details of OSHA inspections , scan this QR code to read the rest of this article on the General Insurance Services website :
• What happens when the OSHA inspector arrives ?
• The opening conference
• Knowing your rights and responsibilities
• The walk-around inspection
• Violations that can be corrected immediately
• What happens at closing and after the conference ?
• The appeals process
• The role of insurance
• Additional OSHA resources +
David was raised in Michigan City . He attended Purdue Northwest and Indiana University Bloomington , later joining General Insurance Services in April 2012 . He serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City and the Michigan City Rotary Club . In his free time , he enjoys exercising , reading , the beach , time with his children , and riding his motorcycle . He has also attained a 4th degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and has a Black Belt in Hapkido .
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