Tips to Survive an OSHA Inspection
The Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” When companies approach compliance preparedness with this thought process, they are overwhelmingly successful in their interactions with OSHA.
Here are three tips to not only survive but thrive when OSHA visits your site.
Get more details about implementing these three tips and additional details.
1. Define who is your competent person onsite for hazardous activities.
When an OSHA compliance safety and health officer arrives onsite for a scheduled visit, employee complaint or accident, they will want to know who the company’s competent person for those hazardous activities is. An OSHA "competent person" is defined as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them" [29 CFR 1926.32(f)].
The two key words to this definition are “capable” and “authorization.”
Companies will be able to demonstrate capability by the training the employee has had and work history.
Authorization is demonstrated by companies defining who these competent persons are during the preconstruction process.
2. Provide formal and ongoing training for employees on hazardous activities.
OSHA will request employee training records for hazardous activities during an investigation. Companies will be well served to provide formal training for all employees prior to putting them to work. For Steel Erectors, the must have training prior to starting work will probably involve:
3. Train employees on what to expect from OSHA visits and their rights under the law. When employees know what to expect they will be less apt to make compounding mistakes when dealing with OSHA. The rights of workers during an inspection are:
A full list of workers’ rights published by OSHA can be found here.
While this list doesn’t encompass everything a company needs to do to prepare for an OSHA visit, by being proactive on the front end of projects, companies will save time, money, and their reputation if OSHA ever does visit.
OSHA Worker Rights and Protections
Worker Rights Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
OSHA Workers Rights Pamphlet
1960.26 - Conduct of inspections
This Safety Flash was contributed by Bryan McClure, Senior Safety Consultant, Trivent Safety Consulting, in cooperation with SEAA’s Safety Committee. It is designed to keep members informed about ongoing safety issues and to provide suggestions for reducing risk. Best practices are gathered from a variety of sources. They may be more or less stringent than individual corporate policies and are not intended to be an official recommendation from SEAA. Always get approval and direction from your company officers on any new practice or procedure as these best practices may not work for all situations.
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