There is nothing quite like the feeling of having an OSHA inspector show up at your facility for an inspection. After all, inspections can lead to significant fines, which recently increased by more than 74%, the first such leap in about 25 years.
In fact, OSHA’s maximum penalties for inspection violations skyrocketed from $7,000 for a serious violation to $12,471. Safety and compliance in maintaining a safe work environment could get costly. But, there are ways to reduce risk.
- A strategy within the facility to effectively handle an OSHA visit
- Advanced telematics software that maintains detailed documentation of everything that OSHA inspectors will examine during an inspection and following an accident
You will probably have little to no warning this inspection is about to occur. OSHA either investigates complaints by phone or dispatches inspectors without notice to conduct an in-person inspection. So, being prepared and knowing what to do, and what not to do, is important to successful interactions with OSHA inspectors.
How do you create an inspection strategy? It begins with having a designated, educated person assigned to accompany the inspector during the visit and any documentation you may need to produce.
What you should do for an OSHA inspection:
- Be cooperative and non-combative when working with OSHA. The compliance officer will probably arrive for the inspection and hold the “opening conference” — in which s/he will explain to you the reason for the inspection, its scope, and the procedures that will be used to conduct the inspection.
- Be prepared. Have a pre-selected representative of your enterprise ready to accompany the compliance officer on the tour of the workplace. Having your representative on the tour may even allow for immediate correction of a cited hazard, which could be viewed positively by the inspector.
- Know how to prove you have followed compliance and protocol with thorough documentation. Telematics software provides solutions to providing documentation to OSHA. Also, all organizations (with a few exceptions) now must file electronic documentation and reports to OSHA’s recordkeeping following any reportable incident.
What you should avoid:
- Not knowing what documentation OSHA is requesting of you. Always create or ask for a complete list of all requested documentation so that nothing is forgotten or omitted in your response to OSHA.
- Acting defensive or argumentative. It is important to come across as cooperative and well prepared with solid answers. Don’t let the stress or concern over proving your point get the best of you.
OSHA can conduct an unexpected inspection to uncover safety violations in your facility. Documentation can be thorough and easy to provide with telematics. This technology can help you prove that your forklift drivers are qualified, equipment is maintained, and safety protocol is followed — which is an important part of getting through an OSHA inspection without incurring fines.