At some point, OSHA will come knocking to audit your facility. Are you prepared?
Many companies create safety plans and programs but do little beyond that. A plan sitting on a shelf doesn’t do much to ensure safety. This is why many regulations require companies and facilities to routinely review their plans and ensure business is being done accordingly. When regulations and policies are not being followed and OSHA audits, fines are just one of the likely consequences.
OHSA Inspections. The Process.
OSHA Inspections will involve 3 steps.
1.The Opening Conference. The OSHA Compliance Officer (CO) will explain why your facility is being inspected. The reason could be a simple routine inspection. The inspection could also be a result of an accident or a complaint. The CO will also explain the scope of the inspection.
2.The Walk-Around Inspection. Here the CO will walk around the facility. Whatever is in sight in subject to inspection. The CO may also interview employees.
3.The Closing Conference. The CO will review any apparent violations and the potential methods to correct violations given a reasonable amount of time. The CO will also review any citations and the respective penalties. Citations include a description of the violation, the proposed penalty and the date by which the hazard must be corrected.
OSHA Audit Preparation
OSHA inspections are generally without notice so the key to success is preparation.
First, set up your “Company Representative”. This individual will serve as the company contact and follow the OSHA Compliance Officer (CO) throughout the visit and inspection. Preselecting and training the representative and several other employees will ensure the audit goes as smoothly as possible. They should be trained on procedures and location of the various policies, procedures and recordkeeping documents.
When the OSHA officer arrives, have a designated location, like an office, where the inspector can wait for the Company Representative. This will allow a space to gather the necessary documents for review.
Keep all training, injury and exposure documentation up-to-date and easily accessible. Be sure to have all policies and programs such as Fire Prevention, Workplace Violence Prevention Programs, Emergency Action Plans to name a few updated and available. For assistance in developing these programs, click here. For more information on documentation and programs required for inspection, contact us at ReSolve.
Inspect your facilities. Review OSHA regulations and inspect facilities to remove any easy citations. Of course, we all have many responsibilities and there are many regulations. We recommend a third-party audit to reduce potential citations and minimize penalties. ReSolve is available to assist in this process.
During the OSHA Audit
First and foremost, be respectful and professional. Answer any questions honestly and fully but do not offer up any additional information.
Your Company Representative can attend the entire inspection. The representative can keep notes on what the CO says and does during the inspection. If there is a complaint, make a copy of the complaint.
The CO may interview employees. Schedule these away from the work area. Advise the employee of their rights, your appreciation of their cooperation and to tell the truth. Be aware that employees have whistleblower rights.
Though you have the right to require a warrant before entry, we generally do not recommend this course of action. This may give the impression you are hiding something and could trigger a more rigorous audit.
Citations are usually prepared at the local OSHA office and mailed to the employer. OSHA has up to six months to send the Notice of Penalty. Upon receipt, the company will have 15 working days to file an intention to contest any citations. Contesting usually allows you to negotiate a lesser fine.
Call us to prepare today for the inspection tomorrow.