OSHA Inspection Jitters?

An OSHA inspection can happen without notice, but with preparation, facilities can be ready for scrutiny.

Prepare the employees so they are used to working while being observed. The safety planning team should know who will meet with the inspector, and have access to site accident history, and safety procedures.

Prepare the facility by complying with all regulations relevant, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), arc flash, combustible dust or others. Safety labels and signs should be properly posted. Mock inspections can uncover hidden safety problems.

OSHA’s consultation division can also advise on facility compliance. They are unrelated to the inspection division.


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OSHA_Inspection_Jitters-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250Dan Clark: Do you have the OSHA inspection jitters? OSHA shows up for inspections unannounced, but if you’re compliant, there’s nothing to worry about.

Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

Don’t let a potential OSHA inspection drive you crazy. You don’t know when they will show up, if ever. If you plan ahead to ensure problems are addressed before hand, you won’t have problems. Just make sure managers and workers know how to conduct themselves.

Step One: Prepare the employees.

A. Your crews may be nervous about being watched while they work. Tell them what to expect if, and when, an inspector pops in. Explain they will not be punished for doing anything wrong during an inspection. Tell them they just need to continue working as they normally would.

B. Make sure your safety planning team knows what to do. Establish in advance who will talk with the inspectors, and be sure they can lay their paws on the safety procedures and accident history.

Step Two: Prepare your facility.

A. Are you following the rules? Comply with all the safety regulations that apply to your business. This could be the PPE, the arc flash, combustible dust, so many more.

B. Post all the necessary signs and labels. Mark machinery, pathways, exits, fire equipment, confined space and any others required.

C. Do practice inspections. The best way to find safety problems is to do an actual inspection, rather than just going through a checklist. Get out in the facility yourself on a regular basis. Try to only pay attention to the safety issues. To make an inspection even more realistic for employees, have a third-party do the evaluation. This will get them used to being watched while they work.

OSHA even offers consultation services for small and medium-size businesses if you think your workplace needs some help to be safe. 

This is important: the compliance division operates separately from the inspection division and, by law, cannot and will not rat you out. They’re there to help.

That’s a wrap on this episode. Come back for more safety compliance goodness to stay up-to-date in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. Check out the website at creativesafetysupply.com


OSHA inspection fact sheet

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